Pope Benedict XVI has just announced that he is naming an anti-gay bigot to head up his archdiocese in San Francisco, a city that has a reputation for being one of the most queer-positive places in the world. Salvatore Cordileone assumes his new position in October of this year.
Cordileone, who currently runs the Oakland archdiocese and chairs the U.S. Conference of Bishops Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has been a longtime opponent of gay marriage. While bishop of San Diego in 2008, he helped to put together the messaging for the very successful Prop. 8, California’s statewide anti-gay marriage initiative that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. That proposition has been struck down by the California courts and is awaiting an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Cordileone once described gay marriage as “the ultimate attack of the Evil One.”
Evil One? Is this the Middle Ages?
Not surprisingly, Cordileone is also staunchly anti-contraception and anti-abortion. In a world with far too many people to feed (not to mention a fragile environment that doesn’t need more demand on its limited resources), he actually thinks it’s good for humans (other than himself, of course) to continue to reproduce. And for men to keep telling women what they should do with their bodies. I guess “chauvinist” isn’t in his dictionary.
When it really comes down to it, I honestly don’t care who runs the Catholic Church. As an atheist, I long for the day when the church closes its last “place of worship” and donates its vast treasures for housing and food for the needy.
But this isn’t the usual appointment. The pope didn’t choose the man who helped design Prop 8 for a position like this without some serious forethought. He knew exactly what he was doing. Having a homophobe and rabidly anti-gay marriage activist like Cordileone as head of the San Francisco archdiocese is an obvious slap in the face to the city’s very vocal queer community. It’s the pope’s way of saying “fuck you” to all of us here who have worked so hard to battle the bigotry that the Catholic Church and other religious institutions have spread throughout the centuries. That bigotry has led to countless ruined lives, not to mention gay- and transbashings.
The only comforting thought is that Cordileone will have little effect on local politics, at least when it comes to gay issues. He has to know that his way of thinking is not very popular in the city of St. Francis.
Queer Catholics in the city are the only ones who may have cause for concern. The Holy Redeemer Parish in the heart of the Castro has been a target for Cordileone’s predecessors. Maybe this new guy will be the straw that breaks the backs of the queer congregants. Hopefully, they won’t let him push them around.
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI truly deserves the title of “Evil One” for his spite and viciousness in sending a raving homophobe to San Francisco.