Let me preface saying that I am a devout Catholic educator in the United States. I decided to remain anonymous on my blog because I do not trust anyone under the direct supervision of a (Arch)bishop. I will use this blog to write about the people who make up the Catholic Church – clerical, religious, lay. Right now, it is a safe bet to say the Catholic Church is in trouble. Many Catholics are saying there is a schism taking place as I write this blog, and I would agree. I see a division growing between the priests who abused children and young adults, and the bishops and cardinals that protected them on one side of the aisle, and decent, practicing Catholics who are social justice minded, who believe in the beatitudes and the corporal works of mercy. Priests who abuse others and bishops and cardinals who protect those who harm others are hypocrites. If the schism is beginning, let’s figure out a way to expedite the process.
The online version of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a hypocrite as “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” If this is true, then priests who abuse others, especially young people either physically or psychologically are a hypocrite. A real-life example of a hypocrite is Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has a lot of nerve sending out his second letter to all parish pastors calling for the investigation of Pope Francis. After all, this is the same archbishop who condoned a bogus investigation by Maureen Huntington into the immoral actions by a principal at a Catholic high school San Francisco. Cordileone is also the same archbishop who turned a blind eye to a female teacher’s complaint that students at her archdiocesan high school in San Mateo were taking pictures underneath the skirts of female teachers. Court records indicate both cases resulted in lawsuits which were settled out of court. Cordileone is also the same archbishop who permits Deacon Brian Bromberger, an openly gay deacon to write for the Bay Area Reporter, a free weekly newspaper serving the LGBT communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lifesitenews.com reported that Bromberger’s articles “have included numerous positive reviews of sexually explicit movies depicting homosexual acts.” I have wonderful family members and many friends who are gay and devout Christians, so my point is not about Bromberger’s sexual preferences; instead, it is about how Cordileone’s actions are the essence of hypocrisy.
Another example which illustrates Cordileone’s hypocrisy is how he promotes the San Francisco Archdiocesan Annual Appeal. Stop by any Catholic Church and pick up an annual appeal pamphlet and look at the back page where there is a pie chart indicating the amount and percent for each of the four areas where the monies are distributed. The four areas are: (1) Clergy Support, receives $2,220,000; (2) Universal Church and Communications, receives $1,800,000; (3) Social Ministry, receives $1,430,000, and (4) Parish Ministry and Schools, which receives $1,370,000. As a someone who attends Mass weekly, I have been asked what happens to a Catholic school and the parish if the Annual Appeal Goal is not met? The Diocese of Oakland’s website says, “These goals are simply that – goals, not assessments, however, under the “Good Faith Effort” policy, if it is determined that parish leadership did not make an effort to succeed, the goal amount could be assessed to that parish.” In other words, the (Arch)bishop can eliminate programs from either the parish ministries, the schools or both. Surely there must be another way the Archbishop can raise money without continuously laying a guilt trip on parishioners? The answer is yes.
The Archbishop can sell off pieces of land at the Saint Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, CA. In a January 25, 2018 memo from Catholic San Francisco, Archbishop Cordileone sold one acre of land from its St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park to the Menlo Park Fire Department for $6.6 million. The memo also says “In need of money in 1998, the seminary sold 43 acres to a land and housing developer for $22 million. (Jane Knoerle, “Marking a Century: St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park Begins a Year of Centennial Celebration,” The Almanac (Menlo Park), Sept 16, 1998.).”
As troubling as it is to grasp how callous Archbishop Cordileone is regarding his Annual Appeal, (Arch)bishops across the country are conducting themselves in the same manner. Psychologists might say this is an excellent example of “learned behavior.” I would like to add that this is just another example of the hypocrisy within the Catholic Church. For example, if (Arch)bishops and cardinals want to change things such as with their Annual Appeals, perhaps they should take another look at what vows a diocesan priest takes when they are ordained.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops “Priests who belong to a religious order (e.g., Dominicans, Benedictine, Franciscans, etc.) take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Diocesan priests make two promises – celibacy and obedience.” In addition to making promises instead of vows, America Magazine reported in their September 17, 2017 issue that “The national median total taxable income for priests is $45,593.” Despite receiving a salary, the opportunity to have a bank account, make investments, purchases houses, the greatest amount of money is earmarked for “Clergy support.” One must wonder why does a parishioner pay for expenses to care for retired diocesan priests when they were earning money their entire life? What did these priests do with their money?
Perhaps even more disappointing, more troubling, more disgusting is that not one penny of the monies generated in this appeal goes to assist religious women (nuns). San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has a lot of nerve sending out his second letter to all parish pastors calling for the investigation of Pope Francis. If there is anyone in the Catholic Church that needs to be investigated, it is Archbishop Cordileone, the real example of hypocrisy.