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Archbishop Cordileone apologizes for DUI arrest

August 28, 2012

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who was appointed head of the San Francisco archdiocese on July 27 and is scheduled to be installed on October 4, has apologized for the "disgrace" caused by his August 25 arrest on drunk-driving charges.

“While visiting in San Diego this past weekend, I had dinner at the home of some friends along with a priest friend visiting from outside the country and my mother, who lives near San Diego State University,” he said. “While driving my mother home, I passed through a DUI checkpoint the police had set up near the SDSU campus before I reached her home, and was found to be over the California legal blood alcohol level.”

“I apologize for my error in judgment and feel shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the Church and myself,” he continued. “I will repay my debt to society and I ask forgiveness from my family and my friends and co-workers at the Diocese of Oakland and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I pray that God, in His inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this.”

Archbishop Cordileone will appear in court on October 9.

Father Thomas Reese reminded the Associated Press that Archbishop John Roach of St. Paul – Minneapolis was arrested for DUI in 1985 and spent two days in jail; he continued to serve in his post for another decade.


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  • Posted by: Kathie - Aug. 29, 2012 1:08 PM ET USA

    Even one glass of wine can register as over the limit. It is unfortunate that this incident did happen, but I do not think that he should step down and I hope the Pope does not let him do so. There are so many bishops and priests in our Church who should be asked to step down for their refusal to teach the WIll of the Church and their support for far-left ideology.

  • Posted by: fwhermann3492 - Aug. 29, 2012 10:44 AM ET USA

    St. Paul said that "a bishop must be above reproach" (1 Tim 3:2). He didn't say "perfect"; he said "above reproach." Bishop Cordileone is no longer above reproach. Please stop defending him in the name of forgiveness. Yes, he is forgiven. Yes, he can still do great work for God's kingdom, but according to sacred scripture, he is no longer qualified to shepherd a see.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Aug. 29, 2012 8:29 AM ET USA

    There is no question this hurts politically not to mention the scandal. To his credit he apologized immediately, but it will be problematic for him if he intends to be firm as archbishop in San Francisco. Like so many scandals, it is difficult to find the silver lining. There is so much cynicism out there.

  • Posted by: unum - Aug. 29, 2012 7:09 AM ET USA

    Hmmm ... judge not lest ye be judged. I have not met a perfect bishop, priest, or Catholic layman yet. But, I know a lot of good bishops, priests, or Catholic laymen.

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Aug. 28, 2012 8:51 PM ET USA

    Resign? Humbug. This is a teachable moment. We are all fallible. Even Archbishops. Yes, it was an error. Yes, drunk driving kills people. But we are Christians. Christ preached over and over about forgiveness. And Abp (?) Cordileone deserves our forgiveness until we have a reason to believe his apology insincere. And to a larger point, our Church has prison ministries trying to bring murderers and rapists back to Christ. Why should we be so quick to abandon one of our own before a second chance?

  • Posted by: seewig - Aug. 28, 2012 6:43 PM ET USA

    God will forgive, but not the liberal world around his new work place. I don't know how the good bishop, - our hope for SFO, - will fend off the daily attacks waiting to be dispatched against him. Maybe God does not want to save the San Fran-Gomorrah (yet)? Bishop Cordileone will have to become a fierce fighter, - and maybe he will.... May God guide the bishop for the right decision to make. Many of God's greatest fighters were sinnners before the took over God's assignment.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 28, 2012 6:43 PM ET USA

    Yes, we all make mistakes. But drunk driving puts lives in danger. The bishop's recklessness is especially troublesome in light of his recent appointment to a city that is poised to tear him apart. We need total commitment from our bishops. Passing up alcohol is not too much to ask.

  • Posted by: Deogratias - Aug. 28, 2012 4:14 PM ET USA

    We are all in great need of forgiveness. Thankfully, my last confession has not made the headlines. When our Lord becomes present at the Consecration, does He not say, "This is the Chalice of My Blood... poured out for you ... for the forgiveness of sins"? AMEN! (A San Francisco Archdiocese penitent)

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Aug. 28, 2012 1:28 PM ET USA

    Resign, piffle. If the Church can survive the Borgia Popes, it can survive a bishop who has an extra glass of wine with his 88-year-old mother. (Full disclosure: I live in his new archdiocese.)

  • Posted by: marttywinston6762 - Aug. 28, 2012 12:51 PM ET USA

    A public apology seems appropriate. We all make mistakes.

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Aug. 28, 2012 10:33 AM ET USA

    The archbishop must decline his appointment. A DUI in 2012 is unacceptable. How will he be able to tell practicing homosexuals in SF to restrain their sexual desires and appetites for a greater good?

  • Posted by: fwhermann3492 - Aug. 28, 2012 7:35 AM ET USA

    This is a scandal of biblical proportions waiting to happen. The only right thing to do is for bishop-elect Cordileone to resign. The last thing the church needs right now is archbishops convicted of drunk driving.