Cordileone, the Lion Hearted Archbishop of San Francisco, Teaches Us to Defend the Truth
primarily in theology; marriage is in nature. Theology builds on the natural institution, giving us a deeper mystical and supernatural sense of its meaning."
"I admit that I didn't step up to the plate when Channel 4 invited me on live television to debate gay marriage, because I didn't want to become a hate figure. I feared my career would suffer and I wouldn't be able to pay my rent. The archbishop sighs and responds: "You say that you can't debate it without suffering for your beliefs, so who is being discriminated against? Who is being intolerant? It is the secular orthodoxy that allows no dissent and will punish those who do."
"When I concede that I feel like a coward for passing up the opportunity to argue the case for marriage on television, Archbishop Cordileone says: "It's a lot easier for us priests to speak out. Fellow clergy are not going to marginalise us. And we're not going to be passed up for a promotion or lose our jobs!"
"While speaking out may be less daunting for priests, he encourages lay people to embrace the challenge, which for us in Britain means actively opposing the forthcoming gay marriage Bill. Archbishop Cordileone urges us to see it as a way of winning grace.
"Fighting for marriage is our way of loving God, and the struggle is the particular gift that God has given our generation. This is our particular trial, and by overcoming it we may achieve spiritual greatness. It will entail suffering if we are to oppose gay marriage, something which poses such destruction to the understanding of natural marriage, which is a child-oriented institution."
"Archbishop Cordileone cautions against over-using the term "gay marriage", advising that it should be used "only sparingly" because it is a natural impossibility and if we keep talking about gay marriage we might fool ourselves into thinking it is an authentic reality, which only needs government approval to make it legitimate. He compares it with another impossibility: "Legislating for the right for people of the same sex to marry is like legalizing male breastfeeding."
"One could get the impression that Archbishop Cordileone is an uncompromisingly serious person. It's true that his face can be set in deep contemplation and his compelling blue eyes can seem still and sombre, but his face lights up when he laughs and his eyes shine with mirth. When I lose my train of thought, mess up a question and excuse myself as not being Mensa but Densa, he curls up in a spontaneous fit of boyish giggles. He finds the idea of going on Twitter hilarious, and says: "I don't know where I'll find the time for a Twitter account. But if I can find a way to go on Twitter, then I will!"
"Even if opponents do not agree with his stance on same-sex marriage, he commands respect for his persistence in arguing for marriage between a man and a woman, in the face of being called homophobic and charged with the erroneous idea that he discriminates against gay people and lesbians. All the same, it must be unnerving at times to be on the receiving end of such hostility in San Francisco. But he doesn't let it get to him. "All our detractors can do is call us names," he says. He throws his hands up in the air, and adds: "Big deal if they shout at us or throw insults!"
"When I say that people in Britain who oppose gay marriage have been slammed as "bigots", by people who won't allow any opinion but their own, he says: "How ironic!"
"It's not that Archbishop Cordileone is so indifferent and hard that he does not feel the sting of slurs. Rather, he knows that winning the battle is more important, even if it will mean personal suffering. Courage is writ large on his determined face, and he is living up to the demands of his Italian surname, which means "heart of a lion".
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, gay marriage, proposition 8, defending the faith, apologetics, right to life, San Francisco, Deacon Keith Fournier
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