Anti-gay record of incoming archbishop scrutinized by [San Francisco city board of] supervisors
Michael Short/Special to The [San Francisco] Chronicle
San Francisco’s new Catholic archbishop, the Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, will officially take office Thursday at a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral and if he hadn’t already figured it out, Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting made it clear that he’s likely in for a rough ride.
Cordileone, the current bishop of Oakland diocese, was one of the leading supporters of Prop. 8, 2008’s successful effort to ban same-sex marriage in the state. It was an out-front, outspoken role that didn’t endear him to San Francisco’s gay community.
“It’s disappointing that the church has assigned a person here who has shown a great deal of hostility to the (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) community,” Supervisor Christina Olague, a bisexual who was raised as a Catholic, said at the board meeting.
Cordileone’s “unkind words are lacking in compassion and in many ways seem to defy the very basic principles of the New Testament values that include love, acceptance, understanding and tolerance,” Olague said, suggesting that the incoming archbishop owes an apology to the LGBT community.
Now given that the Catholic Church is very publicly opposed to all homosexual activity and views the idea of gay marriage as an affront to morality, there is never going to be an archbishop with a ‘Go, team” attitude toward the LGBT community. But local archbishops in the past have managed to reach accommodations with the city’s gays and lesbians on a number of issues, even if there was more than a little “don’t ask, don’t tell” to those agreements.
That’s one likely reason Supervisor David Campos, a gay Catholic, moved quickly to soften Olague’s remarks.
Despite “the divisive statements that have come out,” San Francisco should welcome the new archbishop and “extend an invitation to work with every member of the Catholic community,” Campos said.
“We should focus on things where there is common ground and work on ways to find common ground.”
Supervisor Scott Wiener, who also is gay, joined in Campos’ remarks, adding that it was important for the community to look ahead to what could be a lengthy future with the 56-year-old archbishop.
San Francisco’s politics are no mystery to Cordileone, who’s had a ringside seat as Oakland’s bishop, said George Wesolek, a spokesman for the San Francisco archdiocese, which includes San Mateo and Marin counties.
The incoming archbishop, “has said he wants to meet with as many parishioners as possible and learn what their needs are,” he said. “Gay issues aren’t the only concern in the archdiocese.”