On Monday, October 1 Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Diocese of California, sent an official letter to his flock. It was titled “Letter to the Diocese of California concerning the installation of Salvatore Cordileone as Archbishop of San Francisco.” The letter, ostensibly welcoming Salvatore Cordileone as the ninth archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, attacked the incoming archbishop’s defense of natural marriage.
The letter began “On the Feast of Saint Francis, patron saint of our city by the bay, Salvatore Cordileone will be installed as the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco. The announcement of his appointment by Pope Benedict has come with mixed reactions and feelings from San Franciscans of all or no faith tradition. Bishop Cordileone was an active supporter of Proposition 8, which I and the other Episcopal bishops throughout California opposed.”
The letter also included the statement “Some Catholics may find themselves less at home with Salvatore Cordileone’s installation and they may come to The Episcopal Church.”
Some already have. Readers of CalCatholic may remember Father Cameron Ayers, SJ, former pastor of St. Agnes Church in San Francisco. Dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, Ayers had led his parish in San Francisco’s 2005 Gay Pride parade. In 2008, Ayers made news for donating to the No on Proposition 8 campaign– at a time when bishops in California were working hard to get the proposition passed. In 2009, Ayers took a leave of absence from the Jesuit order. Ayers was “received” as an Episcopal priest in 2011, and is now at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in San Francisco.
Readers may also remember CalCatholic’s February 28, 2011 article revealing that Bishop Andrus allows pretend Masses to be play-acted by representatives of the Roman Catholic Womanpriests at one of his parishes, Trinity Episcopal, in San Francisco.
The Episcopal Church has a baptized membership of 1,951,012 persons in the United States—the nation’s 14th largest denomination. It is an Anglican church, which traces its roots to the break with the Catholic Church in the 1530s.
In 2010, the young Orthodox metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow patriarchate’s department for external church relations, was invited by Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, to address members of the Anglican Communion at the Nicean Club in Lambeth. The Most Reverend Hilarion minced no words:
“Almost 1700 years have elapsed since the Council of Nicaea, but the criteria that were used by the Church to distinguish truth from heresy have not changed. And the notion of church truth remains as relevant today as it did seventeen centuries ago. Today the notion of heresy, while present in church vocabulary, is manifestly absent from the vocabulary of contemporary politically-correct theology – a theology that prefers to refer to ‘pluralism’ and to speak of admissible and legitimate differences.
“Indeed, St Paul himself wrote that ‘there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval’ (1 Cor. 11:19). But what kind of differences was he referring to? Certainly not those which concerned the essence of faith, church order or Christian morals. For, in these matters, there is only one truth and any deviation from it is none other than heresy….
“Some Protestant and Anglican churches have repudiated basic Christian moral values by giving a public blessing to same-sex unions and ordaining homosexuals as priests and bishops. Many Protestant and Anglican communities refuse to preach Christian moral values in secular society and prefer to adjust to worldly standards. Our Church must sever its relations with those churches and communities that trample on the principles of Christian ethics and traditional morals. Here we uphold a firm stand based on Holy Scripture.”