More on San Francisco’s “earthquake”

This morning’s news that Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone will be the next archbishop of San Francisco has already been described as the “San Francisco Earthquake of 2012” and the “Bombshell by the Bay” (colorful headline aside, Rocco Palmo’s excellent post on the appointment includes a lot of good background info on Cordileone and what awaits him in his new job).

Bishop Cordileone, who will succeed Archbishop George Niederauer, is chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage (here is his report on the subcommittee’s work and the legal challenges facing traditional marriage, delivered at the USCCB’s general assembly last month) and was a major player in the effort to pass Proposition 8, an amendment to California’s constitution that defines marriage as between a man and woman.

Cordileone’s installation Mass will be held on October 4 – the feast of St. Francis of Assisi – at San Francisco’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, according to the archdiocese.

Back in 2010, Cordileone spoke with Jim Graves for CWR on a variety of issues, including the bishop’s high-profile support for Proposition 8. As he takes the reins in a city known for its liberal politics in general and its support for gay marriage in particular, Cordileone’s statements on various aspects of the marriage issue will no doubt face increased scrutiny:

CWR: You were an active supporter in 2008 of the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Why did you choose to become involved?

Cordileone: A civilization stands and falls on marriage. If the family is the foundation of society, marriage is the foundation of the family. Children do best when raised by their mother and father in a loving, committed relationship.

That doesn’t mean that in a less-than-ideal situation the children cannot grow up well. We need to affirm and support those who are in single-parent situations, especially in situations in which parents are making huge sacrifices to give their children the best upbringing possible.

Additionally, if society were to lose marriage as the basic institution of our society and the traditional definition of marriage were no longer upheld in the law, we who hold to this traditional definition will be treated like those who were opposed to interracial marriage a few generations ago, as bigots.

We will be punished in terms of not being able to serve the community, not just Catholics, but anyone in need. We would not be able to do that in accordance with our conscience and moral beliefs, whether it’s providing housing, education, health care and other social services. We would, in practice, have to accept this other idea of marriage. And we see this in practice happening in our country and beyond, where rights of conscience and religious liberty are being removed the more the alternative definition of marriage becomes incorporated into the law.

All of society will be hurt if the faith community that holds to this idea of marriage is not able to do the good that they do in society.

CWR: Proposition 8 passed by a vote of 52 percent to 48 percent. Does it trouble you that 48 percent of California voters objected to the idea of marriage as being between a man and a woman?

Cordileone: It does. On the other hand, this is California. All of us working on the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign had everything going against us, including hostile reporting in the news media and opinions of the cultural elites in the entertainment industry and politics.

There was a lot of harassment of those who were working on the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. One hundred thousand Yes on Proposition 8 signs either disappeared or were damaged on the campaign. People were physically assaulted. One pro-Proposition 8 worker was beaten so severely he had to be taken to the hospital and given stitches under his eye. A family I know in San Diego had three of the tires on their van parked in front of their house slashed, and big letters written on the windows saying “Bigots live here” with an arrow pointing to the house.

Yes on Proposition 8 supporters lost their jobs and received death threats. Much of this evil and harassment of our people happened without being reported in the news media. Despite all of this going up against the movement to uphold traditional marriage, we were still able to prevail. That tells me that there is something in people’s hearts that makes them realize that supporting marriage is not discriminating against anyone, it’s not something that’s hateful and it’s not something that’s bigoted. Marriage is something that benefits everyone in society, whether you’re married or not.

The full CWR interview with Cordileone can be read here.

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About Catherine Harmon 577 Articles
Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.