US archbishop admits drink-driving
on 05/10/2012 09:02:26
Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, wearing gold and red robes with a matching mitre, told an audience of more than 2,000 invited guests at his installation Mass that he was grateful for the messages of support he had received from people of different religious and political viewpoints following the August 25 arrest in his home town of San Diego.
"I know in my life God has always had a way of putting me in my place. I would say, though, that in the latest episode of my life God has outdone himself," the Archbishop said with a chuckle as he delivered his first homily as archbishop.
The 56-year-old priest, the second-youngest US archbishop, went on to say he did not know "if it's theologically correct to say God has a way of making himself known in this way", and asked for the indulgence of other high-ranking church leaders in the audience.
The connection, he said, was that the compassion he was shown "in the wake of the regrettable mistake I made to drive after drinking" made him hopeful the Bay Area's Catholic community has the tools it needs to be part of a broader rebuilding of the church.
The Archbishop had been scheduled to appear in court on the misdemeanour charge next Tuesday. Court records show he pleaded guilty on Monday to a reduced charge of reckless driving, an option frequently given to first-time drunken-driving offenders, said Gina Coburn, a spokeswoman for the San Diego City Attorney.
U-T San Diego reports the San Diego native was fined and placed on three years' probation.
The standard sentence for reckless driving is three years' probation and a $1,120 (€864.40) fine, Ms Coburn said.
As the Archbishop spoke during the mass, about three dozen gay rights advocates gathered outside St Mary's Cathedral to protest his induction opposite a much larger group singing hymns of welcome for the new archbishop.
The Archbishop, who served as bishop of neighbouring Oakland for the last three-and-a-half years, has a nationwide reputation as a fierce defender of the Catholic Church's positions on homosexuality in general and same-sex marriage in particular.
He was one of the early engineers of California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in 2008, and since 2011 has chaired the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' subcommittee charged with opposing efforts to legalise gay unions.