Considered the most virulently homophobic and stridently traditional prelate in
the country, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone (Bishop of Oakland) was nonetheless
elevated to the rank of Archbishop of San Francisco on Friday, July 27, 2012.
In 2008, Cordileone and a select cadre of Catholic leaders decided that their best chance to end marriage
equality was to pass an amendment to the state constitution. Cordileone found
the first major donor and built a lasting fundraising network for the group. He
brought in an organization to lead the petition. He activated a network of
California's Catholic churches, and helped craft the Prop 8 messaging campaign,
even using focus groups.
In an era of "What was the Vatican thinking?" Benedict VI has delivered the most alienating slap to an archdiocese ever: Salvatore Cordileone, considered the "Father of Prop 8" will preside over the country's most densely gay-populated area: a move which many see as a statement of outright hostility:
Ben Sherman, Think Progress LGBT:
It is a further step in the Vatican's dedication to use Catholic doctrine to keep LGBT Americans suppressed and with fewer rights. In June, the Church publicly condemned Sister Margaret Farley, who wrote a book approving of marriage equality and advocating for comprehensive sex education. Cordileone can be relied on to side with the Vatican in such rebukes of reason and equality, and for that, the Church rewards him.
To date, there is only this statement from Cordileone about the antagonizing appointment:
It's going to be a big challenge of course but this is what the Lord has called me to do. I hope I can respond honestly and generously and effectively. He calls every generation to serve him in some particular way in terms of what's going on in the world. That's what it is for me.
The "challenge" will, for the most part, be administering the most liberal archdiocese in the country. "Generously" will depend upon the extent to which he realizes it.
The Scope Of It All
According to the Archdiocese website, Salvatore Cordileone will minister to:
"... more than a half million Catholics of San Francisco, San
Mateo and Marin counties, with 416 priests, 90 deacons and 675 women religious.
There are 91 parishes with 11 Missions, 60 elementary schools, 18 pre-schools
and 14 high schools in the three counties of the Archdiocese of San
There are also over 150,000 gay residents, some of whom are
A Dark Age for San Francisco?
As a "proponent of the Tridentine Mass"* Cordileone has evinced his disdain for the advances brought about by Vatican II, a view which is shared by the Pope. As a theologian and active jurist (assistant at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura), he is the Christian Right's Catholic dream: he has called same-sex marriage a "plot of the evil one" and besides opposing abortion and homosexuality, he opposes contraceptives in any form.**
It has not yet been broached as to how he will approach the San Francisco Bay Area's "socially active" nuns (675 of them) nor how extensively he will attempt to roll back any progressive measures taken by Bay Area churches. Supporters of his have called upon him to "de-consecreate" San Francisco's Most Holy Redeemer Church for openly accepting gays and ministering to AIDS victims. As a hierarchical force, he could determine what priests should promote in their pulpits - and what they should vehemently harangue against.
The possibilities of his roll back are endless, although some people think he will stop at determining the skirt lengths of female Catholics, promoting morality plays in San Francisco's Union Square and erecting a monument to Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.
Then again, given his penchant for a strict, unyielding hell-fire morality ...
*Back to celebration of the Mass in Latin, not English or an indigenous language.
** wikipedia: "...he proposed to the gathered bishops that the use of contraception should be included in a list of thoughts or actions constituting grave matter."