Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland as the new Archbishop of San Francisco, the Vatican announced today.
The 56 year-old San Diego-native replaces Archbishop George Niederauer, 76, who has led the archdiocese since 2006.
In an archdiocese renowned for its same-sex marriage battles, the appointment is particularly noteworthy: Bishop Cordileone is a forthright defender of traditional marriage, known for his strong pro-life record and theological orthodoxy.
A fluent Spanish speaker and canon lawyer, he was one of the creators of Proposition 8 - the state referendum banning same-sex marriage - arguing that “only one idea of marriage can stand" and that people have to stand up for that definition. "If that's going to be considered bigoted, we're going to see our rights being taken away - as is already happening," he said in 2009.
Since January 2011, Bishop Cordileone has served as chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, leading efforts to resist the legalization of same-sex marriage. He is also a member of the USCCB's Committee on Religious Liberty.
Before being appointed Bishop of Oakland by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, Cordileone was auxiliary bishop in San Diego from 2002. Prior to that, he worked seven years in Rome as an assistant at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial body in the Vatican, currently headed by Cardinal Raymond Burke.
Bishop Cordileone, a proponent of the extraordinary form, is also one of seventeen United States Bishops to sign the “Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience” - a manifesto issued in 2009 by Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Christian leaders to affirm support for "the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty".