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Here in Northern California in recent days, one prominent liberal after another, including the mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, and the lieutenant governor of California, Gavin Newsom, have lectured the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco, Most Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, insisting that he cancel his plans to participate in the “March for Marriage” in Washington, DC later this month. Nancy Pelosi, to offer a sample of the criticism of the archbishop, denounced the “March for Marriage” as “venom masquerading as virtue.”
Now Archbishop Cordileone has replied.
Dear Fellow Citizens,
Your letter sharing with me your thoughts on the upcoming “March for Marriage” in Washington, D.C., was forwarded to me while I was attending meetings out of town, and I have reflected on what you have to say. I appreciate your affirmation of my Church’s teaching—not unique to our religion, but a truth accessible to anyone of good will—on the intrinsic human dignity of all people, irrespective of their stage and condition in life. That principle requires us to respect and protect each and every member of the human family, from the precious child in the womb to the frail elderly person nearing death. It also requires me, as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing. I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. That is what I will be doing on June 19th.
With regard to your request that I not attend the March, and the reasons you give for this request, allow me to explain the following points….
The March for Marriage is not “anti-LGBT” (as some have described it); it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March. The latter does not imply the former. Rather, it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union. This is precisely the vision promoted by Pope Francis, who recently said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother….”
It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric. It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction. In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric. Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence….
Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings…. In the end, love is the answer, and this can happen even between people with such deep disagreements. That may sound fanciful and far-fetched, but it is true, it is possible….
When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing that I would ask of you more than anything else: before you judge us, get to know us.
Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone
To see a bishop so willing to fight for the truth and yet so determined to demonstrate simple human decency and goodwill—this is a magnificent and humbling thing.