Several dozen gay rights protesters demonstrated Thursday outside St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco as Salvatore Cordileone was installed as the city's Roman Catholic archbishop.
Cordileone is a noted conservative who was active in the campaign to pass Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that rescinded marriage rights for same-sex couples in California. The former bishop of Oakland, he has been quoted as saying, "The ultimate attack of the Evil One is the attack on marriage." LGBT activists have said his appointment is inappropriate for San Francisco.
"I know in my own life God has always had a way of putting me in my place -- little and sometimes big ways of reminding me of my need to depend upon him and to attend to the work of my own rebuilding from within," Cordileone told the 2,000 people gathered inside the cathedral for the installation ceremony, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "I would say, though, that with this latest episode in my life, God has outdone himself."
In addition to facing opposition from gay activists, Cordileone also recently faced a drunk driving charge stemming from an August incident in San Diego. Monday he entered a guilty plea to reckless driving, a lesser charge.
Outside the cathedral, protesters included Brandon Clawson, a 20-year-old who relocated to San Francisco from rural Pennsylvania. Clawson, who was brought up Catholic, told the Chronicle, "You come to bigger cities and you have guys like this acting like he's top-notch and like he can change everybody. You can't change people. I feel like I'm part of a cult when I tell people I'm Catholic."
Cordileone succeeds retiring archbishop George Niederauer. The archdiocese "encompasses an estimated 400,000 Catholics in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties," the Chronicle notes.