I have taken the letter that the 100 “Committed Catholics” of San Francisco recently mailed to Pope Francis. I go through their letter, paragraph by paragraph, in an effort to interpret what Sam Singer actually meant to say on behalf of the “Committed Catholics”:
We are committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II.
We say this because we think you will appreciate the fact that we possess a very clear understanding of Vatican II. You see, we have done extensive reading of select interpretations of Vatican II, such as those of Marcel Lefebvre, Rita Larivee, Hans Kung, James Martin, Theresa, Ed Doerr, Sandra Schneiders, Charles Curran and Erin Saiz Hanna.
Like these learned authors and speakers, our belief is that the Bible is nothing more than entertaining fiction with some helpful guidelines that are useful when it happens to coincide with our beliefs. For instance where the Bible says not to judge. Furthermore, we have found it helpful to avoid any and all slanted and biased propaganda that has come about both before and after Vatican II, such as that from: Moses, David, Peter (a.k.a. Simon son of John) Paul (a.k.a. Saul of Tarsus), Augustin, Catherine of Siena, Aquinas, Theresa of Avila, Chesterton, and that horrible string of your predecessors, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI (a.k.a. Joseph Ratzinger). What is it will all the name changes with these people anyway?
Even though we have never read more than a few sentences that any of these people have written, we know they are frauds, not only because of their blatant use of aliases, but because people like Andrew Greeley and Pope Michael have told us so. Therefore, when we say we are inspired by Vatican II, we mean that we are inspired by the people who say things we agree with. More specifically, we mean that we agree with everything we believe because we are people of deep faith (in ourselves).
We believe in the tradition of conscience, respect and inclusion upon which our Catholic faith was founded From Archbishops Alemany, Hanna, Mitty and McGucken, to Quinn, Levada and Niederauer, our Archdiocese has been “an immigrant Church” built on a rich tradition of diversity.
Our belief, “in the tradition of conscience, respect and inclusion,” means that we believe that there is no such thing as sin, there is no Hell and that nobody has the right to make us sad by disagreeing with us. We want to make it clear that Archbishop Cordileone has made us sad. But we’ll get to more of that in a moment because right now we are trying to make it sound like you are on our side Mr. Francis. You see, our faith was founded on inclusion. We have summaries of the Bible which document the fact that Jesus dined with sinners (okay, so at one point in history, sin did exist, but that was all changed in Vatican II), he refused to judge the adulteress and he actually told Judas to go off and get him arrested. This means that Jesus would have gladly accepted our offer to be on the board for the Human Rights Campaign, he would have signed this letter and he would have expected us to have women priests by now.
The Archdiocese as created a remarkable system of churches, schools, hospitals, homes for the elderly and support services for those in need.
This “system” is remarkable because it fulfills the true mission of the Church, which is to make sure everyone gets food, clothing, shelter and enjoys total freedom from judgment. We know the Church is here to see that everyone is comfortable, both physically and emotionally. Archbishop Cordileone does not understand this. He wants to make people sad and angry. Jesus never made anyone sad or angry.
That is why we now respectfully ask you to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.
Please note that “respectfully” rhymes with “expectfully”. If you are smart, you will cooperate because you don’t want to find out that we know 100 committed (translate: wealthy) Romans who are ready to sign another letter, ordering you to fire yourself. You don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you, right?
Archbishop Cordileone has the crazy idea that the Church has a different mission than making sure everyone is relaxed and content. He thinks the Church is supposed to help people get to heaven. We have no idea where he got that idea. Baruch Spinoza never mentioned that. Archbishop Cordileone is all mixed-up. We know that Heaven is in a puppy’s eyes, the smell of a Starbucks as soon as you walk in the door to take their diversity survey, the colors of a newly minted rainbow flag before a gay pride parade. Heaven is in the feeling I had when I attended the yoga stations of the cross a few weeks ago at the Holy Family Church in Los Angeles… In reality, heaven is when we all agree that equality and abortion are the answers to all of life’s problems.
Archbishop Cordileone has fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance.
…Which is totally unacceptable and must be rejected. People like Archbishop Cordileone must be removed from our presence. At first blush, this may sound like we are intolerant and interested in division, but to believe that is wrong (and hateful). All we want is to be around people who agree with us because we feel sad when someone disagrees with us. Who can tolerate being sad? The answer is nobody. We have decided that the only way to keep living the way we want to live without the fear that anyone will suggest that there is a better way, is to divide the Catholic Church into two parts: Those who we like and those who we don’t like. We want you to do this Mr. Francis. Please do it quickly and make sure that you put Archbishop Cordileone in the part of the Church we don’t like because again, he is mean. He’s going to be lonely over there, because it will probably be just him and Joseph Ratzinger.
Upon threat of losing their jobs, he coerces educators and staff in our Catholic high schools to accept a morality code which violates individual consciences as well as California labor laws.
Who in their right mind would do this? He expects teachers to act in a way that would actually lead children to believe that there is objective moral truth? The students could actually come to believe that the Catholic Church has the authority to teach people the difference between right from wrong. Nobody has the authority to make such a claim for everyone else. It is all relative and you know it. Does Archbishop Cordileone think that the Catholic Church is somehow guided by God himself so that it cannot teach error in areas of faith and morals? We have never heard of such a claim. It says right in the bible that the pilot asked Jesus “what is truth?” and Jesus couldn’t even answer him. Look for yourself. Don’t ask us why there is a pilot mentioned in the Bible when airplanes had not even been invented yet. It probably has something to do with Nostradamus.
We haven’t looked into it, but did these teachers have any idea that they were being hired by an organization that subscribed to old fashioned and antiquated rituals and beliefs when they took their jobs? We suspect they did not. But now, after years and in some cases, decades, of being employed by the Catholic Church, these people are suddenly expected to stop saying things and behaving in a way that could lead the students to believe that things like abortion and homosexual behavior are anything but good and fun? We are sorry, but if that is the way he wanted it, his predecessors should have mentioned that to the teachers before the Archdiocese paid them their salary and egged them on with benefits and the opportunity for resume-building experience. We want Nancy Pelosi as our new Archbishop!
Teachers, students and parents are overwhelmingly opposed to his divisive proposal.
Or at least, we assume so. There is no way we could have found 100 people to sign this letter if we were wrong. Please note that there are only 444,000 Catholics in this Archdiocese. That isn’t even ½ of a million! Yet we were able to find 100 people to sign our letter within a matter of a few weeks of hiring an internationally famous marketing and strategy professional to help us blacklist Archbishop Cordileone.
The absolute mean-spiritedness of his required language for the Archdiocese high school faculty handbook sets a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization.
As you can see by the high-level positions many of us hold (which we included with our signatures so that you can see that we are extremely successful and smart), we know how to attract customers or as the Catholics like to call them, “donors”. We are CEO’s, lawyers, brokers and managers. We know that a business does not attract customers by making it difficult for people to do business with it. If Nancy Pelosi were our new Archbishop, we would be able to build abortion clinics anywhere we wanted and we would have to build larger parish halls to accommodate the huge crowds that gay weddings attract. Think about the income and the huge public relations boost you would get here in the U.S. You could easily stay in office for the rest of your life with the support of the U.S. voters.
But Archbishop Cordileone is out of touch. A confidential informant tells us that he used the word repent the other day. Can you believe that? Some of us had to look it up and you would be amazed at what repent actually means. We have never heard such a hateful word. Jesus never would have said it to anyone.
Students, families and teachers have been deeply wounded by this language, yet the Archbishop refuses to withdraw his demands.
Yes, you heard us: “deeply wounded”. You have no idea how sad some of us are. I have been a member of Star of the Sea parish for 35 years. But I couldn’t even bring myself to walk into the church last weekend. I tried, but then I noticed that they… er, I mean we, had confessionals in the church. Seeing that, I was so deeply offended that I just had to return to my car and tell my chauffeur to drive me back to brunch at the country club. I honestly thought the confessionals had been torn out years ago. I distinctly recall seeing a newsletter from the parish in which the pastor told us that the parish council had accepted a bid from a local contractor which included the demolition of the confessionals so they could install fortune-telling booths. “Now that is money well spent”, I said. But when I walked in to the church last weekend, there the confessionals sat. I was so shaken, I could hardly stomach my Eggs Benedict when I returned to the country club buffet. Thank God they have really good Bloody Mary’s there.
I suspect that the horribly old-fashioned Fr. Illo recently had the machines removed and the confessionals rebuilt under the cover of darkness. Confessionals, a ban on female altar servers! What is next, a requirement that we go to Mass every weekend?
Instead of your famous words “Who am I to Judge,” Archbishop Cordileone repeatedly labels the behavior of our fellow brothers and sisters (and their children) as “gravely evil.”
Nobody is supposed to judge! Ever! I remember the first time I watched the movie Godspell. Jesus was so nice and friendly in that movie. That is the Jesus we like to picture in our mind. Godspell Jesus never judged anyone. He was so relaxed and laid back. He dressed in colorful clothes, danced and laughed just like we do, until of course authority crucified him on that chain link fence. But other than that scene, I have always thought that I could kick back and smoke a bowl with him.
But the authority that killed Godspell Jesus is like the authority Archbishop Cordileone thinks he has. We know he doesn’t have that authority! We know that the majority has the actual authority, which is why we gathered 0.0002252% of the Catholics in our diocese to prove this to you. Don’t think for a second that we couldn’t get another 100 signatures. They probably would not be as wealthy as we are though, so if we did send more signatures, we probably won’t include their job titles.
He has selected and installed a pastor for Star of the Sea parish who marginalizes women’s participation in the church by banning girls from altar service and who has inexplicably distributed to elementary school children an age-inappropriate and potentially abusive, sexually-oriented pamphlet. The priest was recruited by Archbishop Cordileone in spite of a troubled history of questionable judgment as a pastor outside our diocese.
We would never allow this sexist style of management in any of our firms or businesses. As you can see, many of us are women and we are managers and CEO’s. There is no reason why there cannot be a female pastor at Star of the Sea, and as earlier mentioned, Nancy Pelosi would be a phenomenal Archbishop. Didn’t Jesus have female altar servers in the Bible? Godspell Jesus had lots of females with him throughout the movie, so we assume that means that women should be priests. He also had lots of ethnic diversity around him. It was the authorities in Godspell who didn’t like the diversity, but everyone else accepted Godspell Jesus. That’s because Godspell Jesus was so tolerant and friendly. He just wanted everyone to stop judging and pushing their beliefs on his followers.
You would never find any of us judging anyone else or trying to bully them like Archbishop Cordileone. We are like Godspell Jesus (absent the dying part). We suspect that Archbishop Cordileone doesn’t even like the music in Godspell, which by the way would be really cool to use during the services in church. You should think about that.
The Archbishop has isolated himself from our community. He disregards advice from his priests and has brushed aside the deep reservations expressed by our retired priests regarding his actions. He relies instead on a tiny group of advisors recruited from outside our diocese and estranged from their own religious orders.
In other words, he’s setting up a standoff like the Branch Davidians had in Waco, Texas, several years ago. We know public relations, and you don’t want someone on your management team causing an incident like that. One of the retired priests who we have acting as a spy, told us that the Archbishop has a habit of going into a small room in his house where he kneels before a piece of bread. Sometimes he stays in there for hours at a time. We have tried to figure out what he’s up to, but nobody we know has ever heard of anything like this. It is clear that this behavior is impacting some of his radical decisions though. We just thought you may want to send someone in to investigate this.
The Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened by Archbishop Cordileone’s single-issue agenda and cannot survive, let alone thrive and grow, under his supervision.
We feel that our ideal situation here in San Francisco would be like that of the Netherlands. If you look at the Catholics in the Netherlands, you will see that they have made great strides in departing from the antiquated Church teachings in order to embrace the LGBT lifestyle, the use of artificial contraception, availability of abortion and even euthanasia of newborn children and pretty much anyone who decides they would rather be dead than alive.
Most of us have copies of the Dutch Catechism (1966 Edition) that came out of the Netherlands. Our copies are worn and tattered from nearly constant use as we refer to it to justify our behaviors… er, I mean, study our religion. We are not sure if you too have a copy, but we recommend you get one if you don’t. We are thrilled with its vagueness regarding sin, redemption, the Eucharist, Mary, the mission of the Church, etc…
The Netherlands has only experienced a 10% drop in Catholics in the past few decades and they still have nearly 5% Sunday Mass attendance. Some people may consider this a negative, but we think it is fantastic. They save money by closing churches, they don’t have large Catholic schools to staff and maintain and there is hardly any need for a retirement fund for priests and nuns because most of them will probably end up going into another line of work or moving out of the area long before retirement age. The people of the Netherlands have truly embraced the freedom of not feeling obliged to go to Mass on the weekend, go through the uncomfortable experience of confession to a priest or the time consuming practice of saying prayers. Best of all, there is no bishop trying to boss them around.
After all, we all accept the possibility that there is a God, don’t we? Why keep bothering him if he is up there somewhere.
The City of Saint Francis deserves an Archbishop true to our values and to your teachings.
Did we mention Nancy Pelosi would be a fantastic Archbishop? I mean, come on Mr. Francis, why should we get a mean one? We just want to go about our business here in San Francisco without some hard-nosed bishop bossing us around and telling us we have to follow some book that is way too long and confusing to read. Our values and your teachings are one in the same, “no judging”. If Nancy Pelosi won’t accept the appointment, maybe the guy who played Godspell Jesus is available? Or what about Pope Michael, or would that be considered a demotion for him?
Anyway, thanks for reading our letter. You know who to contact if you need campaign donations for your next election. You never know when Ratzinger is going to try to step back in.