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Test HED Test

Tester McTesterson | January 14, 2013 | Story

On an overcast morning last October, Salvatore Cordileone took the altar in front of a handpicked crowd of cardinals, bishops, priests, and some 2,500 other invitees packed into St. Mary’s Cathedral. They had assembled here to witness the installation of San Francisco’s new archbishop, whose selection had incited a noisy scrum outside the church, with hymn-singing supporters pushing up against several dozen chanting protesters. Inside, Cordileone, draped in a golden cape with red trim and a shimmery miter, nodded at acquaintances with a shy smile. But when he leaned forward to off er his fi rst homily to the city, his confi dence and his message were clear. “‘Francis, rebuild my house,’” he began. “These words, which our Lord spoke to St. Francis from the cross in the church of San Damiano, are certainly well known to us.” Cordileone referred to a time of spiritual weakness among the faithful, when a crucifi ed Jesus appeared in a vision to Francis of Assisi and commanded the future patron saint of San Fran

cisco to repair his crumbling country church. “And repair that little dilapidated structure he did, zealously and within a short time. He did not build a new one, but he repaired an old one; he did not tear out the foundation, but he built upon it.” The metaphor was an apt one. To Cordileone, along with many other local clergy members, and certainly to Pope Benedict XVI
’s Vatican, there is much to repair in the city of St. Francis. The local diocese fi nds itself further and further removed from the community’s values. Its pews are thinning; its seminaries are shrinking; its members are losing the
ir religion at an alarming rate. In contrast to previous eras, when church leaders would lock arms with civil rights activists and provide voices
of comfort and strength during times of national uncertainty, Catholic clergymen in the Bay Area


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