San Francisco Catholic Charities honored Archbishop George Niederauer at its annual Loaves and Fishes event April 29. While he was being honored for his leadership and support of Catholic Charities programs and services, it was obvious that everyone at the banquet, regardless of where they come down on religious liberty, women religious, gay marriage or any of the other hot issues within our church wanted also to honor this good man for his most important role -- being the pastor and shepherd of his flock.
The main speaker of the evening was his friend and predecessor Cardinal William Levada.
I have always loved the phrase "elephant in the room," a metaphor for an obvious truth or controversial issue momentarily unaddressed. The elephant in the Grand Ballroom of the Palace Hotel that night was Rome's recent crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, perhaps initiated by bishops in America, but led by William Levada, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Protection of the Faith.