Police: California archbishop cited for DUI, apologizes after Drunken Driving arrest

by Mark J. Bigger on March 12, 2013

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, to be installed in October as archbishop of San Francisco, was arrested in San Diego for driving under the influence.

OAKLAND, Calif. (CNS) – According to reports, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, who will be installed as archbishop of San Francisco on the fourth of next month, was arrested on Aug. 25 on suspicion of drunk driving after being stopped at a sobriety checkpoint.

The archbishop, a San Diego native, had his mother in the car. According to the archbishop’s statement, he was driving his mother to her home after dinner at the home of some friends, “along with a priest friend visiting from outside the country.”

“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 added. “I pray that God, in his inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this.”

In a statement issued from the Diocese of Oaklandon Aug. 27, which Archbishop Cordileone has led for the past three years, the prelate apologized “for my error in judgment” and said he felt “shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the church and myself.”

According to a press release, the Archbishop confessed in a statement that he was found to be driving over California’s legal blood alcohol level, which is 0.08 percent.

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.

Mark McCullough, the police officer making the arrest, told the Chronicle that Archbishop Cordileone appeared intoxicated but was amiable.

“He was very calm, somewhat apologetic at the time,” McCullough said to the press. “He said he’d been drinking. But he wasn’t a stumbling, falling-down drunk.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Archbishop Cordileone spent the night in jail, and was released shortly before noon once he posted a $2,500 bond.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on the misdemeanor charge Oct. 9 – five days after his scheduled installation as San Francisco’s archbishop.

If convicted, Archbishop Cordileone faces penalties of up to three years of probation, two days in jail, an $1,800 fine and sobriety counseling.

Archbishop Cordileone is a chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. In addition, he was a leader in the movement that spurred California voters to ban same-sex marriage at the polls – along with a member of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. He has served on the bishops’ Task Force on Cultural Diversity and currently is on the Religious Liberty Committee of the California Catholic Conference.

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