Wild week for new SF archbishop


It’s been a week of lows and highs for newly-installed San Francisco archbishop¬†Salvatore Cordileone.

On Monday, Cordileone pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving after his arrest at a DUI checkpoint in San Diego last month.

Then on Thursday, Cordileone was installed as the latest Catholic archbishop of San Francisco in a ceremony at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

We can’t call His Excellence a drunk driver here, even though San Diego police said he blew greater than the legal limit of 0.08 at a late-night checkpoint set up to ensnare newly-arrived San Diego State students in August.

Instead, a plea bargain reduced his charges, meaning “reckless driver” is the most severe criminal label that can be attached to the 56-year-old San Diego native.

Bay City News reported Cordileone’s sentence is believed to be three years of probation plus about $1,000 in fines and a mandated appearance at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving victims’ panel.

Slightly ironic, since Cordileone was reportedly driving his own mother home the night he was arrested.

While a somber ceremony anointed Cordileone archbishop inside St. Mary’s Cathedral Wednesday afternoon, several dozen protestors and supporters marched and clapped outside on Geary Boulevard.

Billy Bradford of Castro Valley told BCN why he came out to protest:

“I’m here for gay people in general. Cordileone has said we’re against the natural order of things. No, we’re not. We’re people. We’re family.”

Cordileone has a reputation for conservative teachings of church doctrine, demonstrated prominently by his active participation in the campaign against same-sex marriages in California.

Before his appointment in July as archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI, Cordileone had served as bishop of Oakland since 2009.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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