Recent government attacks on religious liberty have made him fear the United States might be headed toward “despotism,” the newly appointed archbishop of San Francisco—a city represented by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—warned in a recent speech.
“When I saw what was happening and my eyes were opened, it made me fear that we could be starting to move in the direction of license and despotism,” the Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone said at a May 24 conference on religious liberty at the Ethics in Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
In the same speech, Cordileone also said church leaders “cannot get political in the sense of being partisan,” while noting that protecting religious liberty was not a political issue but an issue of “first principles.”
Cordileone, who holds a doctorate in canon law, currently serves as bishop of Oakland, Calif., and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee on the Defense and Promotion of Marriage. He has been a leading spokesman for Catholic teachings on marriage and sexual morality and an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage and civil unions.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cordileone archbishop of San Francisco on Friday. Cordileone will formally take up that position on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of San Francisco.
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