San Francisco Catholics call on Pope to replace ‘intolerant’ Archbishop

A group of Catholic leaders have written to Pope Francis asking him to remove Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone over his views on issues such as same-sex marriage.

They say that Archbishop Corileone has “fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance” in a letter to Pope Francis which also outlines their history of inclusion and progressive values.

San Francisco is one of the most LGBT friendly places in the world, and the Catholic leaders argue that this extends to their Church and followers in the city, despite Catholicism’s reputation as an anti-gay faith. They said “our Archdiocese has been ‘an immigrant church’ built on a rich tradition of diversity”.

They are particularly upset with the Archbishop asking teachers at local Catholic schools to sign a “morality clause” regardless of whether it aligns with their own moral values. It asked teachers to agree to condemn same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception.

Addressing the Pope directly, the letter says: “Instead of your famous words ‘Who am I to judge?’, Archbishop Corileone repeatedly labels the behaviour of our fellow brothers and sisters (and their children) as ‘gravely evil’.

“He has selected a pastor who marginalised women’s participation in the church by banning girls from altar service and who inexplicably distributed to elementary school children an age-inappropriat and potentially abusive, sexually orientated pamphlet.

“The Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened by Archbishop Corileone’s single-issue agenda, and cannot survive, let along thrive and grow under his supervision.”

Larry Nibbi, who signed the letter, told the SFGate: “[He] is just causing a lot of discord, especially with the young people in the diocese.

“The crux of our worry is that the faithful are going to become very disenchanted and stop going to church because they don’t like the message, and the message is not the way they lead their lives.”

However, the Archdiocese released a statement saying : “[The letter is] a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, a misrepresentation of the nature of the teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the archbishop.

“The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for ‘the Catholic Community of San Francisco.’

“They do not.”

Pope Francis has previously said same-sex marriage “disfigures God’s creation”.