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September 4, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
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Archbishop apologizes in statement
Salvatore J. Cordileone

OAKLAND — In a letter to the diocese, Archbishop-designate Salvatore J. Cordileone, to be installed in October as archbishop of San Francisco, apologized and offered thanks for the support and prayers after being charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly driving under the influence Aug. 25.

"I also want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of support and prayers you have extended to me in my time of trial. I could not have asked for more, or dare expect it," he wrote.

In an Aug. 27 statement, the archbishop-designate, a San Diego native who has been bishop of Oakland since 2009, said that after dinner at the home of some friends, he was driving his mother to her home near the campus of San Diego State University where police had set up a DUI checkpoint.

He was arrested and released after he posted a $2,500 bond. He is accused of one count each of driving under the influence and of driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit of .08 percent.

"I've given my whole life to serving the church, loving the church," he told a meeting of the chancery staff Aug. 31. "I want to take this opportunity to apologize to you for any embarrassment I've caused you, any confusion or hardships I have caused you," he said.

"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," he said in the Aug. 27 statement. "I pray that God, in his inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this." According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the only other traffic infraction committed by the archbishop was for failure to stop at a stop sign two days before Christmas last year.

Archbishop Cordileone is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. He was a leader in the movement that spurred California voters to approve preserving the traditional definition of marriage in the law. He is also a member of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, has served on the US bishops' Task Force on Cultural Diversity, and currently is on the Religious Liberty Committee of the California Catholic Conference.

Letter to the people

My Dear People of the Church of Oakland,

This past week has been the occasion of much prayer, reflection and soul-searching for me. I wish to share some of these reflections with you now.

As in most families of religious faith and traditional morality, in my family we were taught right from wrong, trained to do the right thing and encouraged to aspire to do something noble with our lives. I have always tried to regulate my life according to these guidelines and ideals. While I have not always lived up to them, I now have to face a particularly painful incident in trying to do so.

First and foremost, though, I want to apologize to you for any embarrassment I may have caused you. Oakland is a vibrant Diocese, filled with spiritual energy and pastoral creativity, a place where faith is put into action with enthusiasm and determination. It has been an honor to serve you as your bishop, and I am proud of you as the people entrusted to my pastoral care. For myself, I have always striven to live in a way that would make you proud of me as your bishop. I profoundly regret that I may have let you down in this regard.

At the same time, I also want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of support and prayers you have extended to me in my time of trial. I could not have asked for more, or dare expect it. You have sustained me, strengthened me and comforted me in the midst of very severe self-inflicted anxiety. It is your love that helped to get me through it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Please know that you will always have a special place in my heart, and I will continue to hold you in prayer even as I look forward to assuming my new responsibilities in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I trust that God in His infinite mercy will, by the power of our prayer lifted up to Him in union with Mary and the saints, grant me the grace that will supply for my human weaknesses and shortcomings, for His glory and the salvation of souls.

With love and prayers in our Blessed Lord,

The Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone

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