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SAN FRANCISCO (LifeSiteNews) –– Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco has warned that Catholics are “being explicitly attacked” and that such attacks are “championed and celebrated in the culture.”

In an interview with Fox News Digital, the 67-year-old prelate highlighted issues within and without the Catholic Church, stating how Catholic teaching is placed in opposition to the secular culture. 

“In our own Catholic Church, we’re in a struggle about living our faith in a world that’s become very secularized — but secularized not in the sense of apart from religion, but with a value system that’s hostile to some basic values that we have,” Cordileone stated. “How do we live our faith with integrity?”

Catholics have been poorly formed

Referencing the “polarized society” of today, Cordileone encouraged Catholics not to be dissuaded by this, since “we have a very deep intellectual tradition, and there’s a lot to draw on in terms of our understanding of the human person, what our role is — being created in God’s image, that gives us this intrinsic category.”

Nevertheless, the archbishop attested that the numbers of Catholics who actually know their faith does not correspond to those who call themselves Catholic. “We have a high percentage of Catholics on paper, but we haven’t done a very good job of forming our people well in the faith and helping them understand the faith and love it and live it out.”

“Unfortunately,” he continued, “there are a lot of Catholics who don’t really follow everything our church teaches because they probably were never taught what it really does teach and the wisdom that’s underlying it.”

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Such Catholics’s lives, stated Cordileone, “aren’t informed by the faith.” 

Even though they identify as Catholic, the way they live their life, their priorities, their instincts — even to some extent, perhaps, their values — are influenced more by the secular society than their Catholic faith. And I think that has caused a weakening in terms of the social influence that the church should have and trying to contribute to the common good.

Attacks on Catholicism championed by secular society

The Archbishop of San Francisco, who has come under increased media scrutiny in recent months due to his public prohibition of Nancy Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion, also addressed the issue of anti-Catholic attacks in society. 

While noting that “there was much more goodwill in the society” in previous years, Cordileone contended that “in my lifetime, I’ve seen that disappear. There’s very little of that left.” 

We have to realize that we’re being explicitly attacked. When I was young, that didn’t happen. I mean, our properties are being attacked, our sacred symbols are being desecrated. We’re being explicitly insulted, and that’s been championed and celebrated in the culture. So this is a new reality that we’re still trying to adjust to.

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He issued a note of caution also, stating that Catholics “can’t be overly bombastic either.” Appearing to suggest that Catholics pick and choose which cultural issues they will “draw a line and take a strong stand” on, Cordileone argued that strong public positions could lead to a loss of “credibility … and it might have a reverse effect.”

Instead, he urged Catholics to take matters into their own hands politically in order to effect cultural change, stating that “it’s the role of the laypeople to be participating in the political process.” 

“So run for office — run for local school board, their city council — and work up the system,” he said.

Chief amongst the ways to alter the cultural attack on the faith, though, is raising Catholic families, with Cordileone urging parents to raise children “so that they can be well-formed, intellectually-rooted and able to pursue a career of community service or even in politics — to be the force that changes the culture by their own participation.”

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Speaking to LifeSite’s John-Henry Westen earlier this year, Cordileone highlighted the pattern of anti-Catholic incidents which have increased in recent years, particularly the attacks on statues and churches.

“This is very disturbing because we see it’s part of this whole movement of attacks on Catholic Church property and desecration of our sacred symbols going on all around the country,” he said in light of the attacks on churches.

Given that the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team decided to honor the so-called “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” an anti-Catholic hate group composed of gender-confused men dressed as nuns, Cordileone told Westen that such an action constituted “a blatant attack on all true Christian believers.”

“They’re mocking and blaspheming what we hold sacred,” he stated. “And that’s now celebrated in our culture.”