By John-Henry Westen

OAKLAND, CA, May 5, 2009 ( – Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone was installed as the Bishop of Oakland today at a noon Mass today, taking the reigns as the spiritual father of the East Bay’s 550,000 Catholics.

Bishop Salvatore J. CordileoneIn his homily at the installation Mass, Bishop Cordileone gave a very strong defense of the right to life, lamenting that the home (the United States) to which his grandparents came from Sicily nearly one hundred years ago has become less hospitable especially to the unborn.

In addition to his evident prominence for the right to life, Bishop Cordileone also shares with Pope Benedict XVI a love for music (but he’s a saxophone player) and an appreciation for traditional liturgy.  He presided over a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form for Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in March and also offered a Mass in the Ordinary form, but in Latin and facing the tabernacle the following day at TAC.

“It seems our nation has become a much less welcoming place, even, sometimes, downright inhospitable,” said the Bishop referring to immigrants, the ill and elderly, and prisoners.  “Worst of all,” he added, our nation has become “a land that shows itself all too often unwelcoming toward the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters who are not even given a chance to be born, and so are eliminated from society even before they see the light of day.”

“This inhospitality, this hostility,” he added, “creates a tsunami of moral and physical violence which leaves countless damaged and destroyed lives in its wake.”

The answer, according to the Bishop is simply Christ.  “Let us draw near to him, and abide in him, so that we will not be tossed about by the waves of deception and swept along by the teachings of destructive imposters. This means that we must claim Jesus Christ as our only ruler; it means that we place ourselves completely under his dominion. Let there be no doubt: if, as his Church, we are to be his faithful bride, it means that Jesus Christ must have dominion over every aspect of our life. “

With an obvious reference to Catholic politicians who claim personal Catholicism but do not reflect their faith in their public life, Bishop Cordileone said: “Nothing and no one may be exempt from his rule. Whether in public or in private, whether professional or personal, no matter how intimate, we must claim him as our Lord.”

He concluded the point stating: “To exclude the rule of Christ from any aspect of our lives, no matter how intimate or personal, at best makes us ourselves the impostors; more often, in some way or another we even become accomplices of the moral and physical violence we claim to abhor.”

Bishop Cordileone previously served as Auxiliary Bishop in San Diego until his March 23, 2009 appointment as Bishop of Oakland by Pope Benedict XVI succeeds ARchbishop Allen Vigneron, now archbishop of Detroit.

In addition to Archbishop Pietro Sambi Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, 24 U.S. bishops gathered to witness Bishop Cordileone’s installation. Including Cardinal Roger Mahony from Los Angeles, San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer and Archbishop Allen Vigneron.

Full text of Bishop Salvatore Cordileone’s homily: