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
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]

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] Cordileone is considered to be theologically conservative.[6] 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" [7] he proposed to the gathered bishops that the use of contraception should be included in a list of thoughts or actions constituting grave matter.[8] The proposal was defeated, although a separate document approved at the meeting mentioned that the Catholic Church says that "contraception is objectively immoral." [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."[6] 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.[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]

Archbishop of San Francisco[edit]

On July 27, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Cordileone Archbishop of San Francisco.[19] 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.[20] 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.

Driving offense[edit]

Shortly before his installation as archbishop on August 26, 2012, Cordileone was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol at a police checkpoint in San Diego, California.[21] [22][23] His mother and a visiting priest from Germany were with him in the car he was driving. The arresting officer found him non-belligrent and cooperative, nevertheless he spent the night in custody. In a statement, he apologized and asked forgiveness the next day.[24] He had been scheduled to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. However, Cordileone pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving.[25] He was subsequently given three years’ probation and ordered to pay a fine. He was also required to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim-impact panel and a three-month first conviction program through the state Department of Motor Vehicles.[26]

Activism against homosexuality[edit]

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?"[27]

In June 2014 Cordileone took part as a featured speaker in a March for Marriage in Washington DC, an event sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council (both of which are on the list of organizations designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as anti-LGBT hate groups).[28] Before the event several religious leaders, local and state officials urged Cordileone not to take part in the event which was widely seen as an anti-LGBT event.[29] 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.[30]

On 20 June 2014, jointly with other chairmen of committees within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cordileone also expressed concern over the reported intention of Barack Obama to issue an executive order outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in enterprises with federal contracts. The chairs expressed concern that the order might oblige managers to violate their personal religious beliefs by, for instance, having to call same-sex unions marriages or having to finance transsexual operations.[31][32] The same three bishops published on 17 July 2014 a note explaining their opposition to the order and arguing that such a measure "is not about protecting persons, but behavior", and "uses the force of the law to coerce everyone to accept a deeply problematic understanding of human sexuality and sexual behavior and to condone such behavior".[33][34]

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms chosen by Cordileone has two sections. The upper shows is a representation of his Italian surname Cor di leone, which means "heart of lion", and shows the top part of a lion rampant holding a red heart in its paws. The lower part shows a read crab, a reference to the crab-fishing occupation of the Cordileone family on its arrival in California and as a reference to a bishop's duty to be a "fisher of men" (Luke 5:10). The crab is also a reference to the constellation of Cancer, which is associated with the month of July, the month of Cordileone's ordination as a priest and of his appointment as a bishop. The motto, In verbo tuo, meaning "At your word" is a reference to the response of Peter, "At your word I will let down the nets", when invited by Jesus: "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch" (Luke 5:4–5).[35]


  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. ^ a b Kuruvila, Matthai (March 24, 2009). "Pope picks Spanish speaker as Oakland bishop". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  7. ^ "Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper":On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist, p. 9
  8. ^ U.S. Catholic bishops tackle contraception, gays, communion, Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 15, 2006
  9. ^ Married Love and the Gift of Life, p. 4
  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. ^ Kuruvila, Matthai (July 27, 2012). The San Francisco Chronicle |url= missing title (help). 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Staff report (August 27, 2012). Archbishop-Elect Apologizes For DUI Arrest In San Diego. KGTV
  22. ^ SF archbishop-elect apologizes for DUI arrest. Associated Press (via Published: August 28, 2012.
  23. ^ Incoming San Francisco archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, apologizes for drunk driving. Religion News Service. Published: August 28, 2012.
  24. ^ CNN Wire Staff (August 27, 2012). San Francisco archbishop apologizes after DUI arrest. CNN
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Archbishop Cordileone states case against gay marriage. USA Today. Published: March 21, 2013.
  28. ^ Cordileone defends marriage march speech
  29. ^ Cordileone defends marriage march speech
  30. ^ Cordileone defends marriage march speech
  31. ^ Michael Gryboski, "Catholic Church Leaders Express Their Concerns Over Obama's Pending Executive Order on LGBT Employment" in Christian Post, 23 June 2014
  32. ^ Text of the USCCB expression of concern
  33. ^ "Hobby Lobby and ENDA"
  34. ^ "Anti-gay Archbishop: Homophobia isn't 'truly unjust' because sexual behaviour is a choice" in Pink News, 19 July 2014
  35. ^ Cordileone Coat of Arms

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