Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., the U.S. bishops’ leader on defense of marriage issues, has been named by Pope Benedict XVI as the ninth archbishop of San Francisco.

“I am pleased to welcome Archbishop-elect Cordileone and to assure him of our prayers, loyalty, support and cooperation, as well as our friendship and affection,” said Archbishop George Niederauer, who offered his resignation as archbishop of San Francisco upon reaching the age limit of 75.

The appointment and resignation were both announced on July 27 in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Known for his staunch defense of marriage as well as his intercultural ministry and work with immigrants in California, Archbishop Cordileone will shepherd a diocese that contains about 1.8 million people, about 25% of whom are Catholic.

He has served on the Task Force on Cultural Diversity for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and is the current chairman of the conference’s Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

In addition, he serves on the Religious Liberty Committee of the California Catholic Conference.

In a June interview, the archbishop-elect told EWTN News that a redefinition of marriage to include homosexual couples would be bad for children, detrimental to society and dangerous for religious freedom.

He explained that “out of justice for children, we need to do the best that we can to help them grow up with their mother and their father, married to each other in a stable relationship.”

Archbishop Cordileone was born in San Diego in 1956. He studied in both California and Rome before being ordained a priest in 1982. He served in San Diego for several years and later spent time as an official of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church's highest juridical body under the Pope.

He was appointed by Pope John Paul II as auxiliary bishop of San Diego in 2002 and named bishop of Oakland by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

He will be installed as archbishop of San Francisco at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption on Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, who is the patron of the archdiocese.