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.
Despite this difference of opinion and support, I look forward to working with Archbishop-designate Cordileone when and how we can, remembering as the Apostle Paul writes that we are one body, united by one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. Christianity has a long tradition of the faithful disagreeing with one another yet working together for common mission for the building of the Reign of God.
Archbishop-designate Cordileone's predecessor and I have worked closely and fruitfully on reducing extreme poverty globally through the Millennium Development Goals. At the same time as we did this important work together, we took very different public positions on Proposition 8. We can and must both work together for the world's good, and it is equally important, as I say in most of my blessings at the conclusion of the Eucharist, that "we make no peace with oppression." The recognition of the dignity and rights, within civil society and the Church of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered people, and of women are as core to our proclamation of the Gospel as our solidarity with the poor, with victims of violence and political oppression, and with the Earth.
Archbishop-designate Codelione and I share concerns for the treatment of immigrants to this country and reforming the United States’s immigration policies. Working to alleviate global poverty and change systems that disenfranchise all people are the concerns of those who follow our brother Christ, and that work is not limited to the work of bishops.
In working together with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, however, I will not change my course with regard to the full inclusion of all people in the full life of the church. I hope that public disagreements can be handled respectfully and that criticisms of public statements may be met with mutual respect. Some Catholics may find themselves less at home with Salvatore Cordileone’s installation and they may come to The Episcopal Church. We should welcome them as our sisters and brothers.
Even as we welcome those who may join us and look for ways to work with our Roman Catholic siblings in the faith, we will not be silenced in our proclamation of God’s inclusion. Our ecumenical partnership should be founded in our following Christ and shared service. It is our Christian duty to take stands in public or from our pulpits when others — especially those of our own faith — are in error and trying to suppress the rights of others who, too, have been created in God’s image.
I hope that we may move forward together in ministry and faith in a way that bears witness to the unity of Christianity without necessitating uniformity. I look forward to attending Salvatore Cordileone’s installation as Archbishop of San Francisco and working with him in the future.
+Marc Handley Andrus
Episcopal Bishop of California