The new Catholic archbishop of the Diocese of San Francisco this fall will be Salvatore Cordileone. In his new post, Cordileone, who has served as the Bishop of Oakland since 2009, will take over an area stretching from Marin to San Mateo that includes about 500,000 Catholics.
In some respects, Cordileone is a good fit for the location, widely considered to contain more liberals-per-square inch than any other similar-sized patch of land on the continent -- and one which contains many liberal churches. He opposes the death penalty, supports the DREAM Act and has been active in living-wage campaigns.
But on at least one very high-profile issue, Cordileone is severely out-of-step with many in his archdiocese. As News Fix's Laird Harrison wrote when Cordileone's appointment was announced:
Cordileone has called same-sex marriage a plot by "the evil one"...And as much as anyone, he led the drive for Prop. 8, the ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage, according to a an expose in the East Bay Express. Cordileone thought up the proposition, raised money, and put a compassionate face on the campaign, the Express reported.
As bishop of Oakland, Cordileone pressured the directors of the Catholic Association of Lesbian and Gay Ministries -- a group formed to welcome gays and lesbians into the Catholic church -- to swear an oath accepting church doctrine on homosexuality. Among Cordileone's concerns, according to the National Catholic Reporter, were the very use of the terms "gay" and "lesbian," which were "not in the church's vocabulary."
Bernard Schlager, executive director of the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, told Laird, "I think we know a good bit about what he will do," said Schlager, himself a Roman Catholic. "He sees same-sex marriage as a profound moral threat." Schlager said that the only ministry to gays and lesbians that Cordileone supports is a kind of 12-step program that treats homosexuality as an addiction.
Today on KQED's Forum program, Cordileone spoke with host Dave Iverson about the issue. Iverson asked Cordileone how he made the distinction of championing the rights of immigrants and workers as opposed to those of same-sex couples who want to marry. Cordileone responded by saying that opposite-sex marriage is best for children.