Friday, August 31, 2012
SAN DIEGO — The Roman Catholic archbishop-elect of San Francisco was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence, San Diego police said Monday.
The Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, a vigorous supporter of California's same-sex marriage ban, was taken into custody after being stopped early Saturday at a police checkpoint near the San Diego State University campus, said Detective Gary Hassen, a police spokesman. He declined to comment on whether Cordileone took a sobriety test or reveal his blood-alcohol content.
The stop was made at 12:26 a.m. on the outskirts of the campus, a residential area of modest houses, apartment buildings and restaurants where college students mix with the general population.
Cordileone was booked into San Diego County jail two hours after being stopped and then released at 11:59 a.m. Saturday on $2,500 bond, sheriff's records show. He was ordered to appear in court Oct. 9.
The San Diego city attorney's office, which prosecutes misdemeanor DUI offenses, said it had not received a report on the arrest.
The San Francisco archdiocese did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.
Canon law experts said a criminal charge would not automatically prompt a delay in Cordileone's installation as archbishop, which is scheduled to take place at St. Mary's Cathedral on Oct. 4, the feast day of San Francisco's patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi.
Because Catholic bishops are answerable only to the pope, any potential discipline would have to come from the Vatican, said Michael Ritty, a canon lawyer in private practice in upstate New York.
"If there was anything, it would be handled in Rome, most likely by the Congregation for Bishops. Depending on the question or type of criminal charge, it might go directly to the Pope or as directly as you can get," Ritty said.
Cordileone, 56, is a native of San Diego, where he was raised and ordained as a priest in 1982. In July, Pope Benedict XVI selected him to replace Archbishop George Niederauer, who is retiring in October. Cordileone was most recently bishop of Oakland and several years ago, he was an auxiliary bishop in San Diego.
While serving in San Diego four years ago, Cordileone was instrumental in devising an initiative to strip same-sex couples of the right to wed in California and then raising Catholic dollars to qualify it for the ballot. He also was part of a statewide network of clergy that promoted the measure, known as Proposition 8.
Campaign finance records show he personally gave at least $6,000 to back the voter-approved ban.
Since last year, Cordileone has been chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
In an interview with the National Catholic Register last year, Cordileone said that same-sex marriage is "a very serious social experiment that will have dire consequences."
At a news conference last month, he said he thought the Roman Catholic Church had come a long way in addressing the issue of clergy sex abuse and reiterated his opposition to gay marriage.
"Marriage can only come about through the embrace of a man and a woman coming together," he said. "I don't see how that is discriminatory against anyone."
The archdiocese serves more than 400,000 Catholics in the city and neighboring Marin and San Mateo counties. As archbishop, he will oversee the bishops in Honolulu, Las Vegas, Oakland, Reno, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Santa Rosa, and Stockton.
Associated Press writer Lisa Leff contributed to this report from San Francisco.