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The Left Attacks Archbishop Cordileone — And That’s Good News

July 10, 2021 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle published an attack on Catholic bishops in the United States, focusing on the city’s own archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone. The headline accuses the bishops of “trying to weaponize Communion,” and of “alienating their own flock.”
The article was written by one Joe Garofoli, the “senior political reporter” at the city’s most prominent newspaper. Perhaps it should be no surprise that he immediately embraces the canard that the Communion issue is a political one.
According to Garifoli’s bio at the Chronicle, he “has covered everything from fashion . . . to his own vasectomy.” He also “is available to entertain at bar mitzvahs and First Communions.”
The approach of our savvy reporter is as diverse as his resume. For starters, he chooses not to interview the city’s most powerful politician — also a Catholic, also an ardent abortion advocate.
Of course, that’s House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco in Congress.
Instead, Garofoli finds a faithful Catholic, a retired parish volunteer who’s “incensed that the bishops are pushing the Church’s most sacred ritual into the political realm.”
“I don’t want my faith to be politicized” she complains. “I don’t want the body and blood of Christ to be on anyone’s list that they can politicize.”
So she recognizes the true nature of the Eucharist. Go to the head of the class! But did she add, perhaps, that she doesn’t “want the body and blood of Christ to be blasphemously and publicly profaned in manifest and persistent public scandal”?
We’ll never know. Maybe that story will appear on the Chronicle’s “Culture” page (we tried to reach both her and Garofoli, without success).
Garofoli also failed to interview any members of San Francisco’s Catholic clergy. But he did travel 800 miles to the north to find “John Whitney, a Seattle priest who is returning to his native Bay Area this fall. Fr. Whitney had written in response to the bishops’ recent meeting: ‘Stay in your lane’.”
The Wanderer was curious why a story targeting San Francisco’s archbishop would rely on such a faraway source. It wasn’t long before we found Fr. John D. Whitney, SJ, “pastor of St. Joseph Church in Seattle.” In 2012, Fr. Whitney had explained in his parish bulletin “Why I marched in the [PRIDE] parade” in 2012.
Why does Garofoli go all the way to Seattle to find a priest who’s a PRIDE supporter and a cautious opponent of Canon 915? Might he recognizes that abortion and sodomy both manifest a Satanic defiance of natural law?
Now that would be progress.
But if that’s the case, he could have interviewed members of San Francisco’s powerful and vocal homosexual community in his own back yard.
He didn’t.

Did The Archbishop
Disobey “The Boss”?

Chronicle then turns to Archbishop Cordileone, accurately quoting from Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You, the pastoral letter he released in May.
“If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion,” he writes, “you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote. “To publicly affirm the Catholic faith while at the same time publicly rejecting one of its most fundamental teachings is simply dishonest.”
“Dishonest”? Who’s being dishonest? Our reporter implies that maybe it’s Archbishop Cordileone
“That doesn’t match up with what his boss — Pope Francis — has said,” he writes. “The pope has discouraged the bishops and others from ranking priorities.”
Here the reporter cites Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation of 2018.
“Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection” (Gaudete et Exsultate), n. 101.
Fair enough. But Garofoli fails to mention the many invocations of Pope Francis’ words in Cordileone’s pastoral letter — for instance, this passage:
“Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us….This defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be” (Evangelii Gaudium, n. 213).

The Left Takes This
Battle Very Seriously

The Chronicle’s attack represents the opening of a new front in the war on the Eucharist and the Church’s right to defend it. Garofoli’s approach might appear to be scatterbrained, and maybe that’s intentional. But we note that the only Catholic priest he chooses to cite had also criticized his own (now retired) archbishop, Seattle’s J. Peter Sartain, for his opposition to same-sex marriage (“authority never supplants conscience,” Whitney wrote on the subject back in 2012).
And it’s no happenstance that Garofoli’s carefully selected citation of Cordileone’s “boss” noted above just happens to be exactly the same passage on which Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich based his failed attempt last November to derail the USCCB’s decision to develop a document on the Eucharist.
All this points to the fact that the Left can no longer simply give the back of the hand to the controversy over the application of Canon 915. Try as they can, the secular media realize that, while they mock the bishops’ authority, or try to undermine it, they can’t destroy it.
And if they can’t destroy the bishops’ authority, well, they’re going to go after the bishops.
Nancy Pelosi’s hometown paper has now announced that it’s open season. Every bishop is fair game and no holds are barred. The attacks are going to increase in number and intensity. Garofoli casts a few stray stones, but the meandering complaints are going to give way to direct assaults, and soon.
Why did a political reporter write the Chronicle’s story? Because the coming attacks are going to be political. Very political. And they will be effective.
The Left has perceived for years that America’s Catholic bishops are vulnerable to attacks from the media because they’re afraid of the media. And they have good reason to be.
Consider: While The Wanderer reported for years on the abuse scandals and the hierarchy’s outrageous cover-ups, it wasn’t until the secular media launched their broadsides in 2002 that the bishops pretended to take action.
Of course, those efforts, led by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Bishop Wilton Gregory were simply a tactic in a strategy of deflection and delay.
And that means that the position of today’s bishops is just as vulnerable as it was in 2002.
Today we can expect that more prelates like Cordileone will be targeted, and for two reasons. First, to isolate the good ones and leave them “twisting slowly in the wind” without a modicum of support from their brother bishops. And second, to “send a message” to bishops of weaker spines that they just might be next.
The voice of doctrinal authority must be silenced. Of course, such standoffs are politics as usual.
The most disappointing ingredient? That some thirty percent of our bishops are on the wrong side.

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