DUI Arrest Unlikely to Cost New S.F. Archbishop His Job

DUI Arrest Unlikely to Cost New S.F. Archbishop His Job

The drunk driving charge against incoming San Francisco Catholic archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is unlikely to cost him his appointment, church observers say.

“There’s no canonical reason for him to not continue as archbishop,” the Reverend Thomas Reese, a visiting scholar at Santa Clara University, a Catholic institution, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Chronicle notes that in 1985, John Roach, then archbishop of Minneapolis–St. Paul, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence. He continued in the post until retiring 10 years later.

In the wake of Cordileone’s arrest last Saturday in San Diego, however, some LGBT rights advocates are suggesting that the church reconsider the appointment of the cleric, who was a proponent of the anti–marriage equality Proposition 8 and has clashed with gay Catholics at other times as well. 

In his current position as bishop of the Oakland diocese, Cordileone had asked the Berkeley-based Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry to sign an oath saying it would adhere to “the fullness of Catholic teaching.” Earlier this year the group refused, an action that could lead to him declaring it “not authentically Catholic.”

For the San Francisco archdiocese, “you’d think they’d want to appoint someone who more closely represents the Bay Area as archbishop, but instead they pick this off-the-charts, right-wing guy,” David Waggoner, former president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, told the Chronicle. “Maybe they should consider withdrawing the appointment.”

Cordileone has issued a statement apologizing for the DUI incident. He was arrested at a checkpoint near San Diego State University after leaving a dinner with friends, with his mother and a young man identified as a foreign exchange student as passengers in his car. He is due to appear in court October 9, five days after he is scheduled to be installed as archbishop.

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