San Francisco Archbishop Sends Holy Thursday Message of Division. Literally.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, thousands of pro-equality Americans gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. to show support for the freedom to marry on the same days that the Court heard oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

On March 26, a coalition of anti-gay groups held their own event advocating for the preservation of marriage discrimination against same-sex couples. It consisted of a march from the National Mall to the Supreme Court and back followed by a rally on the Mall, and was enthusiastically endorsed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on their Facebook page; the prelates encouraged Catholics across America to take time from their solemn Holy Week observances to travel to Washington, D.C. and demonstrate against marriage equality. (I can’t think of a better way to prepare for Easter, can you?)

As the eyes of the nation turned to the Supreme Court, pro-equality groups including the Human Rights Campaign urged people across the country to express their support for marriage equality by turning their social media profile photos red. (Facebook data indicates that up to 2.7 million Facebook users appear to have done so.) The most commonly-used image was a red version of HRC’s ubiquitous equal-sign logo:

hrc_red_equalityWell, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone — a notoriorious homophobe (and drunk driver) who leads the USCCB’s crusade against marriage equality and is widely known as the “Father of Proposition 8″ — must have been upset by all the red he saw on Facebook this week, because the official archdiocesan Facebook page posted a photo yesterday mocking marriage equality. Joe.My.God reports that the post was deleted after it garnered over 350 negative comments, but Jeremy Hooper snapped this screenshot of the offensive graphic before it was yanked (click on the photo to be taken to Good As You, Jeremy’s blog):

That’s right: instead of following the example of Jesus, who Christian tradition says demonstrated ultimate humility on Holy Thursday by washing his disciples’ feet, Archbishop Cordileone decided to spend his Holy Thursday mocking and deriding those — including a majority of the American people and a plurality of American Catholics — who believe gays and lesbians should have the simple freedom to marry the person they love.

Sending a message that’s literally divisive on one of the holiest days in the Christian liturgical year is a new low, even for someone like Archbishop Cordileone who regularly plumbs the depths of hate-fueled homophobia. But even though Cordileone’s smug, self-righteous bigotry is unusrprising, it nevertheless is astoundingly repugnant. The man he claims as his savior would be deeply ashamed.

(Admittedly vindictive postscript: my public Facebook page has over 200 more likes than the official Facebook page of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. :-) )


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  3. hmisbell

    Excellent piece. One caveat. The Facebook posting (The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco) just below the heading has an URL which is worth following – This will take the reader to a column by George Wesolek, Archdiocesan Communications Director, published in the Archdiocesan weekly (Catholic San Francisco) on 21/xii/2012. While Cordileone’s photo heads the facebook entry, he seems to have been left wiggle room so that he can disclaim responsibility. However, as of this morning, the website for the digital edition identifies the paper’s publisher as Archbishop Niederauer, Cordileone’s predecessor.

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