On Monday, November 11, at the general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco spoke to the press. Archbishop Cordileone chairs the bishops’ subcommittee on the defense of marriage. His Excellency lamented the recent Supreme Court decision on DOMA and its lack of a decision on the Proposition 8 case. About Proposition 8 he noted the abdication of responsibility by public officials charged with enforcing laws: “Increasingly we are witnessing public officials placing their opinions over the laws they are charged to defend…In the area of marriage this has happened in a striking way with DOMA, Proposition 8, and in other jurisdictions with respect to marriage laws.”
The Archbishop’s statement provoked a response by Michael Sean Winters, of the National Catholic Reporter. Mr. Winters wrote:
“The Church is a big ship, and she does not turn quickly. So, perhaps it would be expecting too much for the bishops to get with a new program too quickly. This morning, Archbishop Vigano said, “he [the pope] made a special point of saying that he wants ‘pastoral’ bishops, not bishops who profess or follow a particular ideology.” Now, I am listening to Archbishop Sal Cordileone discuss the “defense of marriage. It is not clear to me why the archbishop thinks it is vital that photography studios be able to discriminate against gay couples. His reading of the political landscape if even more strange. +Cordileone is still at the barricades in the culture wars. This summer the pope, when asked about a gay monsignor, said, ‘who am I to judge?’ This was widely reported. Apparently, albeit unreported, the Holy Father intended to leave judgment to +Cordileone.”
Since the subject under discussion was same-sex marriage it might first be instructive to compare the positions of Archbishop Cordileone and the Holy Father on the issue. In 2009, Archbishop Cordileone told the East Bay Express:
“The ultimate attack of the Evil One is the attack on marriage,” he said. “If you take marriage apart, everything comes unraveled. It’s been frayed at the edges, and now moving more and more toward the center. But you take marriage out, it all comes unraveled. It all comes tumbling down. And again, the evangelicals, they understand that. They understand this is an attack of the Evil One at the core institution.”
The next year, 2010, when faced with a similar situation, legislation for same-sex marriage in Argentina, the Holy Father, then-Cardinal Bergoglio, said:
“Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
Far from being at odds, it sounds like Cardinal Bergoglio was channeling the recent statement of Bishop Cordileone. In fact, both prelates were repeating the teaching of the Church.
Mr. Winters then offers the conventional misunderstanding of the Pope’s “airplane statement.” Winters writes, “This summer the pope, when asked about a gay monsignor, said, ‘who am I to judge?’”
The Pope’s words are easily found. The Holy Father was answering a question from journalist Inez Scamparini, about Monsignor Battista Ricca. The Holy Father discussed Ricca, and then said:
“…you spoke about the gay lobby. So much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with “gay” on it. They say there are some there. I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good. If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying … wait a moment, how does it say it … it says: “no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”. The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem….”
To read full transcript of Pope’s airplane interview in English, click here.
To read entire posting on A Shepherd’s Voice, click here.