SAN FRANCISCO, California, July 31, 2012 ( – In what one Catholic pundit described as the Pope’s “bombshell by the Bay,” Benedict XVI has appointed stalwart pro-life and pro-family Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland to lead the challenging see of San Francisco.

The archbishop-elect, who led the charge for Proposition 8 and now heads the U.S. bishops’ nation-wide battle against same-sex “marriage,” will take over an archdiocese long-considered a bastion of dissent, particularly on the issue of homosexuality.

The archdiocese is home to Most Holy Redeemer Parish, renowned for its homosexual activism; the Rainbow Sash Movement, a group dedicated to protesting Catholic teaching on homosexuality; the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” a group of homosexual men who dress in drag to protest Catholic sexual teaching; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, one of America’s most infamous and strident pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

Michael Harank, described as a “lifelong Catholic,” told the San Francisco Chronicle that the city is “one of the hearts of the gay liberation story” and called Cordileone’s appointment a “slap in the face to the gay community” because of his work as “one of the financial fathers and creators of Prop. 8.”


Besides his work on the same-sex “marriage” front, Cordileone, 56, has taken the more difficult step of working to rein in the national Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry, which is based in the Oakland diocese.

After over a year of talks with the group, in April Cordileone warned its board that he would take “public action” to clarify its status “with regard to authentic Catholic ministry” if board members refused to sign an “oath of personal integrity” that they would “strive to clearly present Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in its fullness.”

The board had refused to sign the oath twice before, claiming it raises issues of conscience.

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During his tenure as bishop, Cordileone has also been a stalwart defender of the right to life, as well as an advocate for traditional liturgy including greater use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

In his opening homily at his installation in Oakland on May 5, 2009, he lamented that the United States 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.”

Even before his installation, in April 2009, Bishop Cordileone visited Oakland pro-life pastor Rev. Walter Hoye in prison, because, according to a spokesman, “he respects Hoye’s affirmation of the value of human life.”

Cordileone told reporters Friday he was “frustrated” that his views on same-sex “marriage” were dominating the storyline about his appointment. “I wish I didn’t have to expend so much time and energy on something that should be self-evident,” he said.

“But this is the high-profile issue,” he continued. “It’s a foundational issue. For whatever God’s reason, it’s the issue he’s given us at this point in history, so I’m not going to run from it.”

Cordileone replaces outgoing Archbishop George Niederauer, whose tenure has been marked by tension with many pro-life and pro-family Catholics. Among other concerns, in 2007, the Archbishop was taped giving Communion to two men dressed in drag as part of a demonstration by the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” though he later apologized.

He also refused to deny Communion to Pelosi, despite Vatican directives.

Archbishop-elect Cordileone will be installed on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, October 4th. The archdiocese serves approximately half a million Catholics.