A weekend article in the Los Angeles Times expressed the surprise of some in the main stream media over Pope Benedict's superb choice to Shepherd the faithful of San Francisco. ArchBishop Salvatore Cordileone will be installed on October 4, 2012, the Feast of the patron of the City, Francis of Assisi. This Bishop is ready, as was Francis, to assume the work of rebuilding the Church for the sake of the world into which she is sent to continue the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Catholic Online) - A weekend article in the Los Angeles Times expressed the surprise of some in the main stream media over Pope Benedict's superb choice to Shepherd the faithful of San Francisco. ArchBishop Salvatore Cordileone will be installed on October 4, 2012, the Feast of the patron of the City, Francis of Assisi. This Bishop is ready, as was Francis, to assume the work of rebuilding the Church. He understands, as did that great Saint, that the Church carries forward in time the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the world.
The article, entitled, "In San Francisco, Prop. 8 backer to head Catholic Church" began with these words: "The announcement by Pope Benedict XVI has been dubbed the "Bombshell by the Bay." Next week, a key player in the passage of Proposition 8 - a man who has decried the "contraceptive mentality" of modern life - will become the leader of the Catholic Church here in the city that thrust same-sex marriage onto the national stage, the birthplace of the Summer of Love."
A quote was chosen by the writer, apparently to underscore the shocked tenor of her piece. It was taken from Father Thomas J. Reese, a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center: "Even in a city like San Francisco, they're willing to appoint someone who has a high state and national profile on this issue. They're serious and they're not going to back down." Of course, the "they" Father Reese refers to is the Holy See. My response is to say, "thank God for this "they" - "they" are a gift sent from heaven just in the nick of time for our Nation.
The seriousness and surprise that the selection of Archbishop Cordileone engenders in the main stream media, is further evidenced in the comments from the Bishop which the writer, Maria L. La Ganga sprinkles throughout this piece. For example, she noted that Bishop Cordileone stated: "The church is not going to change its teaching. The solution isn't to say, 'Well, I'm just going to disagree and continue being a Catholic.' That's not how we arrive at holiness." Of course, the Archbishop is simply stating the teaching of the Catholic Church.
My response to the quote from Fr Reese which I chose for the title of this piece, is of course "they're serious" - because the Catholic Church proclaims the truth about marriage and defends this truth not simply as a religious proposition but as confirmed by the Natural Law, obvious to common sense and necessary for the true common good of any society.
The main stream media's surprise at the words of this Bishop extends to his willingness to address the misuse of the gift of sexuality. For example, the writer noted, "In a recent interview at the headquarters of the Oakland diocese, where he has served as bishop for three years, Cordileone was more direct: Gays and lesbians who are in sexual relationships of any kind, he said, should not receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, the central ritual of Catholic life. "If we misuse the gift of sexuality, we're going to suffer the consequences," he said, "and I firmly believe we are suffering the consequences."
Finally, the writer seemed surprised at comments made by the Bishop at a news conference in July, "when discussing the "cultural challenges" his new diocese would present - which he said revolved around "issues of family life and, essentially, come down to our understanding of the human person, the purpose of our human sexuality, what God calls us to do and how he calls us to live and how he calls us to love."
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is a breath of fresh air. His answers are refreshingly clear.
What is happening in our Nation and the entire West constitutes a clash of worldviews, personal and corporate, which involve competing definitions of human freedom, human flourishing and human progress. The positions being espoused - and lifestyles being affirmed - as "progressive" by those currently using the term as a political label are anything but. They turn the clock back on true human progress. There is a propaganda effort to portray those who adhere to the Jewish and Christian vision of the dignity of the human person, the primacy of true marriage and family and the necessary moral foundation of a truly free and just civil society as "backward." Faithful Catholics are often portrayed as proposing a return to some perceived "dark age". In fact, it is the Catholic Church which leads us out of dark ages like the one we are currently in. In fact, she offers the whole world the path to true progress and human flourishing. From the beginning of his service to the Church, Pope Benedict XVI has been about this task of rebuilding the Church. When his papacy is recounted, his apostolic work will be credited with having re-secured the Catholic Church in a time of trial so that she could inaugurate a new missionary age for the Third Millennium.
I believe that the new Archbishop of San Francisco was chosen precisely because he is up to this challenge. Much has been made of the Archbishops defense of true marriage and his fidelity to the unbroken and unchangeable teaching of the Catholic Church. His defense of the fundamental human rights to life and religious liberty are often presented in certain media sources as causing some kind of disruption in San Francisco. This slanted coverage of the Archbishop should not come as a surprise to those who have been praying for the Catholic Church to remain faithful. The adversaries of the authentic message of liberation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are feeling threatened.
He will be installed on October 4th, the Feast of Saint Francis, the patron of San Francisco. Francis is the Saint who heard the words of the Lord "Go, and Rebuild my Church" at a time in the last millennium when the Church was desperately in need of renewal. That renewal was necessary so that she could engage the age with the Gospel! So it is in our time.
We should take great comfort that this appointment, like we did at the selection of Cardinal Dolan to lead the faithful in New York - and his election by his brothers to lead the entire body of US Bishops. This is another sign that the Lord is using this wonderful Pope profoundly as the Church continues her mission in this critical hour.
Similarly, the placement of Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Gomez, Archbishop Lori, ArchBishop Wenske, Bishop James Conley... and the list goes on, should be a great source of encouragement. They are signs of the gift the Lord gave to us when he gave us the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI. In continuity with the 2,000 year teaching of the Catholic Church and the proper understanding of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Benedict XVI is re-securing the foundation stones of the Catholic Church in the United States. His selection of Bishops proceeds from his conviction that the Church - and the message of authentic and true human progress which she offers the world - is just what is needed in this critical hour in human history. This task of re- building the Church has not been easy. It never is. And, it will probably get even more difficult. The old adage is true; it always seems darkest before the dawn. Those who wanted to try to change the teaching and doctrine of the Catholic Church are deeply disappointed. However, for all who hunger for a vibrant, faithful, dynamically orthodox Catholic Church, the source of all truth, the God who is Truth, has once again been true to his promise to Peter, "upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her". (Matt. 16:18) Archbishop Cordileone is another foundation stone as Benedict the Builder fortifies the Church for a New Missionary Age. We ask our readers around the globe to pray for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone as the time of his installation draws near. What a Pope we have in benedict XVI! What an amazing time we live in. Church history is being written daily as the new missionary age of the Third Christian Millennium unfolds.
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