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Pope Names Staunch Marriage Supporter to Head San Francisco Archdiocese

The Archdiocese of San Francisco, located in a city considered by many to be the gay capital of the United States, just received one of the Church's most outspoken promoters of traditional marriage as its new archbishop.

CNSNews is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, the bishop of Oakland, California and the chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee on the Defense and Promotion of Marriage, to head the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Bishop Cordileone has been a sharp critic of the Obama administration's efforts to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and to its insistence that any opposition to homosexual rights is a form of discrimination.

“Marriage and the family are the essential coordinates for society,” Cordileone said just after being installed as head of the Marriage Subcommittee in 2011. “How well we as a society protect and promote marriage and the family is the measure of how well we stand for the inviolable dignity and good of every individual in our society, without exception. The consequences for our future—especially that of our nation’s children—cannot be greater and must not be ignored.”

An outspoken supporter of traditional marriage, his stance earned him the title of "The Father of Proposition 8" - the 2008 California ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage.

When New York state legalized same-sex marriage last year, Cordileone called the legislation a “profoundly unjust law” because it denied children their “basic right” to a mother and father.

“Making marriage law indifferent to the absence of either sex creates an institutional and cultural crisis with generational ramifications yet to be seen,” Cordileone said at the time.

“To eliminate marriage’s very essence--its essence as the union of husband and wife--from its legal definition is to ignore not only basic anthropology and biology but also the purpose of law generally. Law is meant to uphold the common good, not undermine it. Now, New York’s government will be forced to ignore that children have a basic right to be raised by their mother and father together.”

He also criticized the law because it opened the door to allowing the government to persecute anyone who chose to defend the moral truth about marriage.

“Also, as demonstrated in other states where marriage redefinition has occurred, officials there will be in a position to retaliate against those who continue to uphold these basic truths,” said Cordileone. “This is a mark of a profoundly unjust law.”

Cordileone is also an opponent of the HHS mandate, saying that he is "outraged" at how this unjust rule violates religious liberty.

Cordileone was born in 1956 in San Diego and was ordained in 1982. He earned a doctorate in Canon Law in Rome in 1989 and served in Rome from 1995 to 2002 at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial body in the Catholic Church. In 2002, Pope John Paul II named Cordileone an auxiliary bishop in his hometown of San Diego. Seven years later he was installed as the fourth bishop of Oakland.  

During the July 27 press conference in which Cordileone's latest appointment was announced, reporters peppered him with questions about his stance on marriage.

For instance, one reporter asked: “There are a lot of gay and lesbian brethren who feel disenfranchised by the Catholic Church, and from what I understand you’ve been pretty adamantly [for] Proposition 8. I am wondering now that you are in San Francisco if you’re at all willing to revisit that and what would you say to the gay and lesbian brethren in the Catholic Church?”

“What I said before,” Cordileone responded. “Marriage benefits every one. Marriage isn’t against anyone. Marriage specifically benefits everyone.”

The reporter persisted: “What is your stand on same-sex marriage?”

Cordileone answered: “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman because children can only come about through the embrace of a man and a woman coming together. So, my stance is marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and I don’t see how that is discriminatory against anyone."

The bishop's answers were so clear and unequivocal in support of marriage that they frequently drew applause from the crowd.

He will be officially installed as the archbishop of San Francisco on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis, the city's patron saint.

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