Archbishop Cordileone counters March for Marriage critics

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in Rome on June 28, 2013. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has rejected California politicians’ criticism of the March for Marriage, stressing his duty to teach “the truth about marriage” even when it may not be popular.

The June 19 March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., is “not anti-anyone or anti-anything,” Archbishop Cordileone said in a June 16 letter to political leaders, religious leaders, and leaders of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) activist groups.

“Rather, it is a pro-marriage march,” the archbishop continued. The march “affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union.”

Archbishop Cordileone, who heads the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said that if the event intended to “single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, I most certainly would not be there.”

The archbishop’s letter comes in response to a June 10 letter signed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, several other leaders in the California and San Francisco governments, several dissenting Catholic groups, and several LGBT advocacy groups. Several non-Catholic clergy also signed the letter.

Their letter asked the Catholic archbishop to “reconsider his participation” in the march. They claimed that march organizers like the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council are “some of the nation’s most virulently anti-LGBT organizations and leaders.”

Archbishop Cordileone noted Pope Francis’ April 11 comments to the International Catholic Child Bureau, in which the Pope said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.”

The archbishop also affirmed respect for “the intrinsic human dignity of all people.” He said that some of the critics’ comments about March for Marriage sponsors are “based on misinterpretation” or are “simply factually incorrect.”

He said he and the march’s critics have a “common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric,” but pointed out that supporters of marriage as a union of one man and one woman have also faced this rhetoric and even harsh action.

“Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence,” the archbishop said.

He rejected violence against persons with same-sex attraction, while also noting the violent attack on March for Marriage sponsor the Family Research Council. In August 2012, a gunman who was also an LGBT community center volunteer targeted the advocacy group, shooting and wounding a security guard before being wrestled to the ground.

Archbishop Cordileone said he is willing to meet with his critics “not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other.”

“Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings,” he said. “It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart. In the end, love is the answer, and this can happen even between people with such deep disagreements."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), a Catholic from San Francisco, in a separate letter criticized the archbishop’s participation in the March for Marriage. She claimed that the march is “venom masquerading as virtue,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Thomas Peters, a writer for and former communications director for the National Organization for Marriage, responded to Speaker Pelosi and other critics of the archbishop.

“(I)t is a milestone for dozens of politicians to tell an American archbishop that he is so wrong about his own faith that he is morally at fault when he acts in the public square in accordance with his conscience,” Peters wrote June 16 at

Peters called on Catholics and others to support the March for Marriage by attending in person or showing support for the event through social media. He also suggested praying for the archbishop, writing letters of support to him, and showing support for him on social media.


Things beyond our imagination

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Recently, at an academic dinner, I was sitting across the table from a nuclear scientist. At one point, I asked him this question: Do you believe that there’s human life on other planets? His answer surprised me: “As a scientist, no, I don’t believe there’s human life on another planet.


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October 4, 2015

  • Sunday, October 4

    Gerard Thomas Straub Book Signing, 9 a.m.- 1p.m., Holy Family Bookstore, 1519 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. Straub will discuss his newly re-released book, “The Sun and Moon Over Assisi.” (626) 403-6133.

    St. Kateri Mass, 11 a.m., St. Marcellinus Church, 2349 Strong Ave., Commerce. Everyone is welcome to honor and follow in the footsteps of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Potluck and raffle immediately following – bring a favorite dish to share!

    Faith Support on Our Cancer Journey, 2-4 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. This afternoon of reflection will explore ways for those struggling with cancer can nurture their spirits and seek divine guidance and support. $25 ($20 if paid in full by September 25). (310) 377-4867.

    “Come and See” Vocation Event, 2-7 p.m., Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, 2927 S Greenville St., Santa Ana. Single women of high school and college age are invited by Sacred Heart Sisters to learn more about religious life. Dinner will be provided. RSVP by Oct. 3 at (714) 557-4583 or 

    Once Upon a Time: Stories to Awaken the Mysteries of the Heart, 3-5 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. $25. (310) 377-4867.

    Rosary and Mass for Life, Rosary: 4:30 p.m., Mass: 5 p.m., St. Cornelius Church, 5500 E Wardlow Rd., Long Beach. Contact Sylvia Aimerito (562) 429-1965.

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