In one of the more delicious ecclesiastical contretemps of recent years, the Episcopal bishop of California, Marc Andrus, was prevented from attending last week's installation of Salvatore Cordileone as the new archbishop of San Francisco. As other clerical dignatories were ushered to their seats of honor, Andrus was kept cooling his heels in the basement of the cathedral, until he got the hint and departed the scene.
That, at least, is Andrus' version. In due course, Cordileone's spokesman released a statement that it had all been a misunderstanding.
It is hard to avoid the suspicion that Cordileone was displeased with Andrus' public letter welcoming him to San Francisco and pledging to work together on matters of common concern but emphasizing their disagreement over gay rights generally and same-sex marriage in particular (which Andrus strongly supports and +Cordileone led the charge against while serving as bishop of Oakland). And then there was this:
Some Catholics may find themselves less at home with Salvatore Cordileone’s installation and they may come to The Episcopal Church. We should welcome them as our sisters and brothers.
I'm inclined to think that had the failure to seat really been a misunderstanding Cordileone would have quickly gotten on the horn and apologized to Andrus. Assuming the opposite, it would have been a good deal more lionhearted to signal his displeasure by publicly announcing that Andrus was not welcome to attend.
Whatever, with Catholic bishops on the warpath against SSM and the ECUSA offically endorsing it, I'd say it's time for Andrus and company to man up and announce the establishment of an ordinariate for U.S. Catholics who want to become Episcopalians. Last January, you'll recall, the pope announced a U.S. ordinariate for Episcopalians who want to become Catholics but would like to retain some of their own liturgical and other traditions.
If what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, the new Episcopalians would be able to retain some of their Roman traditions. Of course, the pope thing would have to go. On the other hand, priests and bishops would now have the opportunity to marry, including (in some jurisdictions) members of the same sex.
The pope's ordinariate is headquartered in Houston. Where better to locate the Episcopalians' than in San Francisco?