Different bishop, same squishy message in San Francisco

Different bishop, same squishy message in San Francisco

Apparently, Pope Benedict allowed Archbishop William Levada to pick his own successor because Archbishop-elect Niederauer of San Francisco sounds more like Levada than some of the more recent episcopal appointments the Pope has made for the US.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Niederauer is already making gay friendly statements.

San Francisco’s incoming Catholic archbishop, George Niederauer, has spoken boldly in support of gay priests and has praised gay parishioners, leaders of gay Catholic organizations said Thursday.

… “Some who are seriously mistaken have named sexual orientation as the cause of the recent scandal regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests,” Niederauer said in the interview with the Intermountain Catholic News, which was published Monday.

He’s also already backpedaling on the Instruction, contradicting the clear text of the document to say that there’s nothing wrong with a priest being gay.

Niederauer said gay men committed to Christ and the church can effectively minister as priests, and he said sexual orientation was “a structure of human personality.” In contrast, the Vatican instruction states that men “who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’ ” are unfit for priesthood.

When you have DignityUSA praising your stance on homosexuality, you know you’re on the wrong side.

Didn’t Niederauer go to St. John’s in Camarillo with Levada and Cardinal Roger Mahony? Boy, that school just pumps out great bishops.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • It’s good to meditate upon Jesus’ words about wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Greater harm may be done by the nice, seemingly compassionate, outwardly open and approximately orthodox than by the at least honest candor of the ferociously heterodox.

  • Fortunately, Apb. Niederauer is almost seventy years old.  With any luck, our aged Pope will get to try again!

    I hope your theory that Benedict allowed Levada to choose his replacement is the correct one.  The alternative is that he has become a king-maker of sorts; this is Rocco Palmo’s take.  And it’s worth bearing in mind that Pope Benedict did appoint him to the Congregation for Bishops. 

    The real test on whose theory is the right one will come when there is a new appointment to Salt Lake City.  That’s in San Francisco province, under Niederauer and formerly under Levada.  If we get another of this ilk, then we may have to gear ourselves up for a disappointing few years on the bishops front.

    Of course, the bottom line question is:  Why?  Why did Pope Ratzinger do this?  Maybe he knows something I don’t know.  Or, maybe I know something he doesn’t know.  But I wish I knew the answer…

  • I don’t think the Salt Lake appointment would be a good indicator, because that’s still within Levada’s orbit. No, the indicator would be a big diocese, especially one back east. That would be a better indicator of Levada’s role.

  • I disagree.  I think that it’s one thing to say, “Choose your successor; I give you carte blanche.”  It’s another thing to give the guy charge over a whole section of the country.  I hope the Holy Father isn’t going to concede him any “orbit” in which to appoint lousy bishops.  Why on earth should he?

    In ANY case, I’m sure you’ll agree that if the new Salt Lake bishop is NOT cut from the same cloth but is like the initial Benedict and the later JP appointments, it puts the lie to Rocco’s notion and confirms your thesis.

  • I don’t think the Pope is giving anyone an orbit to appoint lousy bishops. But if the Pope thinks Levada has special knowledge of the people in his province and who would make a good fit there, then he listens to his recommendations.

  • I sent an email to the Holy Father, in which I mentioned such things as did John,ie;,  Wolves in Sheep’s clothing.

    The email address for the Holy Father is   .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  I have used it several times over the last few months.  I have never received an undelieveralbe error message, but I also have never received a response.  I have no idea if the Holy Father ever sees these.  I obtained the email address from the Papa Razi Post web blog.

  • I post about those issues which are in the news. I’m not obsessed with it, the world is.

    In case you didn’t notice, there was this thing that broke open a few years ago called the clergy sex-abuse scandal that involved a lot of homosexual abuse by adult men against post-pubescent teenage boys.

  • It’s upsetting to also read in the SF. chronical that Niederauer publicly opposed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2004 that appeared on the Utah state ballot, even though he claimed to oppose same-sex marriage.

    “Many Protestant leaders and the powerful Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported the ban. But Niederauer said he was troubled that the amendment banned any union beside marriage.”  What’s wrong with that?  The Church teaches that this behavior is intrinsically wrong, so why should he be troubled that civil unions would also be banned? 


    With so many heterodox bishops out there, I can’t imagine why Benedict would just listen to Levada’s recommendation without verifying his stances on issues like homosexuality.  Maybe more people need to email Benedict directly and fill him in.

    In response to John’s comment that “greater harm may be done by the nice…approximately orthodox than by the…candor of the ferociously heterodox”, I wonder why you feel that way.  Are we better off with the humble, orthodox Sean O’Malley in Boston who seems to lack the courage to lead (and “pees in his pants” when faced with confrontation, as one reader posted recently on these pages), or would we prefer a heterodox bishop instead who was capable of leading—but in the wrong direction (a la Walter Cuenin-type)?

  • I think what he meant was that at least a ferociously heterodox bishop is easily identified and his heterodoxy rejected, while the nice, approximately orthodox bishop leads the sheep away at a less obtuse angle, but he does it so graudally that you don’t realize how far off you’ve gone until it’s too late.

    It’s the difference between Cardinal Law and Cardinal Mahony.

  • Cardinal Law was dreadfully negligent in disciplining his priests; that’s an evil, but it’s not the evil of heterodoxy.  I’ve never heard before—nor do I believe—that Law was only “approximately orthodox” [John’s words].  Believers too are sinners.

  • No, but there’s an “approximate orthodoxy” that says all the right things in certain circumstances, but never takes the next step. Like saying voting for legalizing abortion is wrong, but not doing anything about Catholic politicians who do so. Or saying that Catholic institutions honoring those Catholic politicians is wrong, but doing nothing to stop it.

    There was much that Cardinal Law did that was good, but there was so much he didn’t do.

  • For example Dom,

    The Kennedys’  seem to have had every prelate in Boston in their back pockets.  Probably starting with Cushing.  What is up with this?  Ted Kennedy is an absolute “black eye” on the Church in Boston, yet never a public rebuke, even though the man “rebukes” the Faith by his Senate votes and his public comments.  His personal life amounts to a “train wreck”, yet Law and others, gave him the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in public while never demanding that the Senator from Mass proclaim his Faith in public or vote as a Catholic.  What spinless jelly fish they are.

  • Some people would say, for example, that JPII appointed a lot of bad bishops and did little to control them.  I don’t agree (for various reasons), but I don’t think it had anything to do with his “orthodoxy” one way or another.

    Cardinal Law did great wrong, but it had nothing to do with his Catholic belief.  Catholics—even bishops—can be remiss in their duty.  They can even be cowards…

  • Now that I understand what you all meant, I’d say despite the wrongs that Cardinal Law allowed under his watch, I’d take him (or O’Malley for that matter) in Boston any day of the week over Mahony.  At least Law and O’Malley agree with and publicly back Church teachings on abortion, life, and marriage, and the diocesan newspaper supports those positions.  Having the heterodoxy even more out in the open, and being taught and embraced by the Archbishop seems like it would be the nail in the coffin here in Boston.

  • Oh yes, you know me so well. How you have cut me to the quick. Pray tell, enlighten me to the log in my eye.

    I’m a journalist. I report the news. I know what news is out there. Surprisingly, not all of it is in the Globe.

    Huh, homosexuality. No one’s talking about. Not in the news. Wow, open your eyes: gay marriage, Vatican document on gay priests, sex abuse of kids, moves extolling homosexuality, and on and on.

    The gay cowboy movie does have a lot to do with it, when the US bishops conference is praising it.  The point of the post isn’t the movie per se, but the review.

    Okay, here’s your next step in this all-too-predictable conversation. You’re next going to tell me that because I am “obsessed” with homosexuality that I must be secretly homosexual myself. See, that’s the common tactic by which to shut up men who discuss the homosexual agenda. Sorry, but it’s not going to work on me. I’m secure in my heterosexuality. Ask my wife.

    Of course, the predictable reply to that tactic is to suggest that the man obsessed with defending homosexuality is… Well, you see how dumb that is.

    Rather than go down that path, just drop it now.

  • Dom,
    It seems that a certain critic of yours is concerned with the spec in your eye. One wonders what is in his eye.

    One thing that is insincere about gay activists within the Church is their claim only to be welcomed as Jesus welcomed prostitutes, tax-collectors and other outcasts.

    Of course, I don’t recall seeing these other outcasts and sinners parading down the aisle at Church wearing a sash and demanding the Church officials bless their lifestyle.

  • Raymond Arroyo from EWTN’s World Over Live reported this word for word “San Francisco’s incoming Catholic archbishop, George Niederauer, has spoken boldly in support of gay priests and has praised gay parishioners, leaders of gay Catholic organizations said Thursday.”

    The he added, “He is regarded as a moderate.”

    I just switched the channel over to NESN. EWTN is falling apart without their fearless leader Mother Anjelica.

  • I am quite well aware of my own sins. Why do you assume that I am not?

    Jesus didn’t tell us not to point out problems in the world is we are sinners. He said to look to our own sins, first. We are then presumably free to point out problems in the world around us.

    Those who appeal to Matt 7:5 very often wish simply to shut up those saying things they don’t like.