On October 4, 2012, accompanied by 40 bishops, His Excellency Salvatore Cordileone was installed as the ninth Archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The ceremony began with a stately procession around the cathedral. After the bishops reached the sanctuary the Most Reverend Carlo Maria Vigano, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, began the installation. He called for the reading of the letter from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, which officially installed Cordileone as Archbishop. The letter was read by Monsignor C. Michael Padazinski, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The Mass then began.
When the time for the homily was reached, Archbishop Cordileone began with the words “Francis, rebuild my house,” and recounted the challenges the church had faced at the time of St. Francis. He noted that the command was to “rebuild,” not to build something new, and that the foundation of the Church are always sound. Francis “…didn’t make a new church, he repaired the old one. He built upon it.” He noted that Francis’ answer to the trouble of his time was holiness. The Archbishop stressed that the rebuilding of the house of God always begins with each member of the Church rebuilding him or her self—turning back to God. He spoke from his own experience, including his recent arrest for driving under the influence: “God has always had a way of putting me in my place,” he said. “With the last episode in my life, God has outdone Himself.” His Excellency urged a renewal of devotion: Eucharistic adoration, frequent confession, and especially daily prayer of the rosary.
The Mass ended the recessional hymn “Lift High the Cross” roared out by the faithful. Some of the congregation rushed up the aisles to be close to the new Archbishop as he followed his brother bishops back to the sacristy.
Protestors had planned to disrupt the event, but their efforts were barely noticeable. They were few, and vastly outnumbered by young people from the Archdiocese, who did not have tickets to the installation. They showed up anyway on Geary Street, in front of the cathedral plaza with signs, guitars, and rosaries, expressing support for the new archbishop. The Associated Press reported: “As Cordileone spoke during Thursday’s mass, about three dozen gay rights advocates gathered outside St. Mary’s Cathedral to protest his induction opposite a much larger group singing hymns of welcome for the new archbishop.”
Whatever noise the tiny number of protestors attempted to create was checkmated by a simple but effective maneuver executed by the Archdiocese of San Francisco: they hired a mariachi band. If the protestors tried to chant (barely audible from the second- to-last row in the cathedral) the mariachis would start to play. But the protestors were so tiny in number—that the clever move was unnecessary.
The protest was such a flop that its page on “Indybay,” a San Francisco website that promotes leftwing causes, did not receive a single comment.
Marc Andrus, the Episcopal Bishop of California who had written a strange “welcoming” letter to the new Archbishop, as reported in CalCatholic on October 4, did not attend the Mass. According to Pacific Church News, the website of the California Episcopal Diocese, Andrus was denied a seat at the installation: “The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Episcopal Bishop of California and an invited guest for the installation of Archbishop-designate Salvatore Cordileone, was not allowed to be seated. He was escorted to a basement room at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral and detained by an usher until the time the service began, whereupon Bishop Andrus left the cathedral. More information will be forthcoming as it is available.”
Reporting on the incident, the Associated Press said “San Francisco Archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek chalked it up to a misunderstanding. Andrus had arrived late and missed the procession of interfaith clergy who were to be seated up front. Church staff were looking for an opportunity to bring the bishop in without disrupting the service, according to Wesolek. When they went to retrieve him, he had already left.
‘We had no intention of excluding him at all,’ Wesolek said. ‘If he felt like because of the wait that was insulting to him, we certainly will apologize.’”