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Protesters March Outside Installation Of New San Francisco Archbishop

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - Former Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone was installed as the ninth Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco at a ceremony at St. Mary's Cathedral in the city Thursday.

Cordileone, 56, wearing gold robes and a mitre, officially became the archbishop around 2:30 p.m. when he took his seat in the cathedra, or archbishop's throne, in the edifice.

Before that, Archdiocese Chancellor Michael Padazinski read a July 27 letter in which Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cordileone and the congregation of 2,000 nuns, priests and lay people acclaimed Cordileone with applause.

The archdiocese encompasses San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties. Its archbishop also has certain supervisory responsibilities over the dioceses of Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City and Honolulu.

Cordileone, who grew up in San Diego, previously served as bishop of Oakland for three years and as auxiliary bishop of San Diego from 2002 to 2009.

The installation came three days after he pleaded guilty in San Diego County Superior Court to a misdemeanor reckless driving charge.

The plea stemmed from Cordileone's arrest at a drunken driving checkpoint in San Diego at 12:26 a.m. on Aug. 25.

Cordileone later said he had been visiting his mother in San Diego and was driving her home after a dinner with some friends and a visiting priest.

San Diego City Attorney's Office spokeswoman Gina Coburn said Cordileone was initially charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

He had been scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 9 on those charges, she said. Instead, Coburn said Cordileone pleaded guilty Monday to the lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless driving.

In San Diego, misdemeanor DUI offenses are prosecuted by the city attorney rather than the county district attorney.

Coburn said Cordileone's sentence is not yet registered in the court's computer records, but said she believes his sentence is three years of probation, a $1,120 fine and attendance at a Mothers against Drunk Driving victim impact panel and a Department of Motor Vehicles first conviction program.

Archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek said he had no comment on the plea.

During a homily at Thursday's installation, Cordileone referred to the incident, but not specifically to the guilty plea, and said his error in judgment was a reminder of the need to be humble.

Two days after his arrest, Cordileone said in a statement, "I apologize for my error in judgment and feel shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the church and myself."

Cordileone replaces Archbishop George Neiderauer, who retired after serving six years in the post. The archdiocese was founded in 1853.

After studying theology and canon law in Rome, Cordileone was ordained in San Diego in 1982 and served in church positions in La Mesa, San Diego, Calexico and Rome before becoming auxiliary bishop of San Diego in 2002.

Cordileone opposes same-sex marriage and since 2011 has chaired the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, which views marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman.

Cordileone's installation brought skeptical comments from some members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors at their meeting earlier this week.

Supervisor Christina Olague, who identifies herself as bisexual, said she was disappointed that the church would appoint "a person who has shown a great deal of intolerance for our community."

Supervisor David Campos, who is gay, also noted what he said were divisive statements by Cordileone, but said, "I hope we can find some common ground."

Before the installation began at 2 p.m., about 25 protesters, including gay rights activists, marched on the Geary Boulevard sidewalk outside the cathedral, while an equal number clapped and sang in favor of Cordileone.

Some of the demonstrators, holding rainbow flags and signs with slogans such as "We all deserve the freedom to marry," were protesting Cordileone's support of Proposition 8, California's 2008 ban on same-sex marriage.

Others carried signs decrying priest abuse of children.

"It's really a smorgasbord" of protests, said demonstrator Billy Bradford, 56, an information technology manager from Castro Valley.

"I'm here for gay people in general," he said.

"Cordileone has said we're against the natural order of things. No, we're not. We're people. We're family. I should be able to get married so that my son can be protected by two parents," Bradford said.

Those supporting the new archbishop held a banner reading, "Neocatechumenal communities welcome the new shepherd." They danced in a circle, clapped and sang, accompanied by several guitarists and drummers, as Blue Angels jets roared overhead.

Beyond the sidewalk, a mariachi band played on the cathedral's front plaza, which was closed to the public. The mariachi performance was one of several ethnic festivities presented by the archdiocese before and after the installation to celebrate the diverse cultures within its territory.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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