SF archbishop jokes about recent DUI arrest

Associated Press Modified: October 5, 2012 at 9:46 am •  Published: October 5, 2012
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Andrus said he was taken to a basement room with other invited guests, then left waiting as ushers showed everyone but him to their seats in the sanctuary, Joseph Mathews, an Episcopal spokesman said. He was still waiting when the mass had started, so he left, Mathews said.

San Francisco Archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek chalked it up to a misunderstanding. Andrus had arrived late and missed the procession of interfaith clergy who were to be seated up front. Church staff were looking for an opportunity to bring the bishop in without disrupting the service, according to Wesolek. When they went to retrieve him, he had already left.

"We had no intention of excluding him at all," Wesolek said. "If he felt like because of the wait that was insulting to him, we certainly will apologize."

Pope Benedict XVI's selected Cordileone on July 27 to replace retiring Archbishop George Niederauer. Opposition to same sex marriage has emerged as a principal theme of Benedict's papacy. In March, he urged visiting U.S .bishops to beef up their teaching about the evils of premarital sex and cohabitation, and denounced what he called the "powerful" gay marriage lobby in America.

The pope acknowledged his comments might sound anachronistic or "countercultural," particularly to the young. But he told bishops to not back down in the face of "powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage."

"Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage," he said.

The appointment letter the pope wrote appointing Cordileone was led aloud at the installation mass. In it, Benedict said he appealed to the archbishop's parishioners "to give you a warm welcome and to remain in communion with you."

For his part, Cordileone mentioned marriage only obliquely during his homily. Thursday was the feast day of San Francisco's patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi, and the archbishop said that St. Francis, too, lived during a time of spiritual unrest, "even to the point of denigrating marriage on the basis that it was purely a material reality."

Cordileone's arrest came after he was stopped at a police checkpoint near San Diego State University. His mother and a visiting priest from Germany were with him in the car he was driving. He said at the time that he had consumed some alcohol while having dinner with friends then decided to drive his mother home.

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Associated Press Writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego, Calif. and Rome Bureau Chief Victor L. Simpson contributed to this story.