Salvatore J. Cordileone

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The Most Reverend
Salvatore Joseph Cordileone
Archbishop of San Francisco
Archdiocese San Francisco
Province San Francisco
Appointed July 27, 2012
Installed October 4, 2012
Predecessor George Hugh Niederauer
Ordination July 9, 1982
by Leo Thomas Maher
Consecration August 21, 2002
by Robert Brom
Personal details
Birth name Salvatore Giuseppe Cordileone
Born (1956-06-05) June 5, 1956 (age 58)
San Diego, California, USA
Nationality American
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post Bishop of Oakland
Alma mater
Motto in verbo tuo (In Thy Word)
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
Salvatore Cordileone
Coat of arms of Salvatore Joseph Cordileone.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style n/a

Salvatore Joseph Cordileone (born June 5, 1956) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church and the archbishop of San Francisco, California.

A conservative theologian and proponent of the Tridentine Mass, Cordileone has fluency in reading and speaking English, Spanish, Italian and Latin.[1]

Early life and ministry[edit]

Salvatore Cordileone was born in San Diego, California, and attended Crawford High School from 1971 to 1974.[2] He then studied at San Diego State University for a year before entering the University of San Diego, from where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1978. He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, earning a Bachelor's in Sacred Theology in 1981.[2]

Returning to the United States, Cordileone was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Leo Thomas Maher on July 9, 1982.[3] He then served as an associate pastor at Saint Martin of Tours Parish in La Mesa until 1985, whence he returned to the Gregorian and earned a doctorate in canon law in 1989.[2] Cordileone, upon his return to the Diocese of San Diego, served as secretary to Bishop Robert Brom and a tribunal judge (1989–1990), adjutant judicial vicar (1990–1991), and pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Calexico (1991–1995).[2]

In the summer of 1995, he returned to Rome to work as an assistant at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial body in the Vatican under the pope.[2] He was raised to the rank of Chaplain of His Holiness in 1999.[4]

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms chosen by Cordileone has two sides. The top part shows a literal depiction of his Italian surname "Cor di Leone" which means "Heart of Lion". The bottom part is a Medieval Cancer zodiac symbol of the July month, which he considers significant based on his priestly ordination and consecration. The latter ribbon reads his motto which reads "In Verbo Tuo" which is Latin for "In Thy Word", a possible reference either to the Gospel of Jesus Christ or more literally, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Episcopal career[edit]

On July 5, 2002, Cordileone was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego and Titular Bishop of Natchesium by Pope John Paul II.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on August 21, 2002 from Bishop Robert H. Brom, with Bishops Raymond Burke and Gilbert Espinosa Chávez serving as co-consecrators.[3]

Cordileone serves on the episcopal advisory board of the Institute for Religious Life[5] and St. Gianna Physician's Guild. [1] At the annual meeting of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore in November, 2006, in the course of consideration of the document which issued as "Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper" [6] he proposed to the gathered bishops that the use of contraception should be included in a list of thoughts or actions constituting grave matter.[7] The proposal was defeated, although a separate document approved at the meeting mentioned that the Catholic Church says that "contraception is objectively immoral." [8]

Cordileone is considered to be theologically conservative.[9] An opponent of same-sex marriage, he was one of the creators of Proposition 8[10] and once said, "Only one idea of marriage can stand...If that's going to be considered bigoted, we're going to see our rights being taken away–as is already happening."[9] He is also opposed to abortion, and supports the use of the 1962 version of the Tridentine Mass, which is now an authorized extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.[11]

Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he sits on the Bishops' and Presidents' Committee on Catholic Education.[12]

Bishop of Oakland[edit]

Cordileone was later named the fourth Bishop of Oakland by Pope Benedict XVI on March 23, 2009. Filling the vacancy left by Bishop Allen Vigneron's promotion to Archbishop of Detroit in January, Cordileone's relatively quick appointment is speculated to be a result of accusations that the diocese's interim administrator, Rev. Daniel E. Danielson, had permitted same-sex unions.[13][14] Cordileone's installation occurred on May 5, 2009, at The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.

Cordileone visited his first parish within the Oakland diocese as Bishop, St. Felicitas Catholic Church, in San Leandro on May 17, 2009. This date marked the St. Felicitas Parish School's 50th Anniversary. The first pastor, Monsignor Michael J. McGinty's had a vision for a parish school; it became a reality in 1959.[15]

On September 20, 2009, Cordileone offered a Missa Pontificalis, or Pontifical High Mass, in the Tridentine rite at Saint Margaret Mary Church in Oakland. This was the first time a Missa Pontificalis was offered in Northern California since the 1970s liturgical changes. Cordileone is a known proponent of the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.

Cordileone is one of seventeen United States Bishops to sign the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, a document asserting opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion and assisted suicide, and to what signers feel is an infringement on their freedom of religion. To date, he is the only Bishop from California to sign the document.

In January 2011, Cordileone was named the chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, in which capacity he will be working against the legalization of same-sex marriage.[16] In a June 2012 EWTN News interview, Cordileone stated that a redefinition of marriage to include homosexual couples would be bad for children, detrimental to society and dangerous for religious freedom.[17][18]

On August 26, 2012, Cordileone was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol at a police checkpoint in San Diego, California.[19] Officer Mark McCullough, who was at the scene, told The Associated Press, "He was a driver that was obviously impaired but he was quite cordial and polite throughout. He was not a belligerent drunk at all ... There were no problems with him throughout the night."[20][21] He spent the night in custody. In a statement, he apologized and asked forgiveness the next day.[22]

Archbishop of San Francisco[edit]

On July 27, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Cordileone Archbishop of San Francisco.[23] The appointment of Cordileone, and the acceptance of the resignation of his predecessor, Archbishop George Hugh Niederauer, were both announced on July 27 in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Papal and Apostolic nuncio to the United States of America.[24] Cordileone was installed on October 4, 2012, the patronal Feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco, California.

In an interview with USA Today, given days before oral arguments were made before the Supreme Court over DOMA and Proposition 8, Cordileone argued against same-sex marriage, saying that it would harm children:

"To legalize marriage between two people of the same sex would enshrine in the law the principle that mothers and fathers are interchangeable or irrelevant, and that marriage is essentially an institution about adults, not children; marriage would mean nothing more than giving adults recognition and benefits in their most significant relationship. How can we do this to our children?"[25]

In June 2014 Cordileone took part as a featured speaker in a March for Marriage in Washington DC.[26] Before the event local Catholic and religious leaders delivered 30,000 petitions, and local and state officials all urged Cordileone not to take part in the event which was widely seen as an anti-LGBT event.[27] Sponsored by National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council, two of "the nation's most virulently anti-LGBT organizations" on the list of organizations designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as anti-LGBT hate groups, the event is seen as a response to the overwhelmingly positive movement of acceptance to same-sex marriage in the US including many legal rulings in favor of LGBT rights concerning marriage and spousal rights.[28]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e "Ask a Canon Lawyer". Catholic Answers. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone". 
  4. ^ "San Diego Auxiliary Bishop Cordileone Named Bishop of Oakland, California". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 
  5. ^ IRL Board of Directors and Advisory Boards
  6. ^ "Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper":On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist, p. 9
  7. ^ U.S. Catholic bishops tackle contraception, gays, communion, Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 15, 2006
  8. ^ Married Love and the Gift of Life, p. 4
  9. ^ a b Kuruvila, Matthai (March 24, 2009). "Pope picks Spanish speaker as Oakland bishop". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  10. ^ "The father of Proposition 8" East Bay Express, 8/12/2009
  11. ^ Palmo, Rocco. ""Lion Heart" Meets "Space Egg"". Whispers in the Loggia. 
  12. ^ "The Bishops' and Presidents' Committee". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 
  13. ^ "Pope rapidly fills Diocese of Oakland vacancy". Catholic News Agency. 2009-03-23. 
  14. ^ "Oakland Diocese denies new administrator permitted same-sex 'marriages'". Catholic News Agency. 2009-02-06. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ National Catholic Register: "Bishop Cordileone Fights to Save Marriage" February 14, 2011
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Staff report (August 27, 2012). Archbishop-Elect Apologizes For DUI Arrest In San Diego. KGTV
  20. ^ SF archbishop-elect apologizes for DUI arrest. Associated Press (via Published: August 28, 2012.
  21. ^ Incoming San Francisco archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, apologizes for drunk driving. Religion News Service. Published: August 28, 2012.
  22. ^ CNN Wire Staff (August 27, 2012). San Francisco archbishop apologizes after DUI arrest. CNN
  23. ^ Kuruvila, Matthai (July 27, 2012). The San Francisco Chronicle |url= missing title (help). 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Archbishop Cordileone states case against gay marriage. USA Today. Published: March 21, 2013.
  26. ^ Cordileone defends marriage march speech
  27. ^ Cordileone defends marriage march speech
  28. ^ Cordileone defends marriage march speech

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Allen Henry Vigneron
Bishop of Oakland
May 5, 2009–October 4, 2012
Succeeded by
Michael C. Barber
Preceded by
George Hugh Niederauer
Archbishop of San Francisco