Future SF Archbishop Acknowledges DUI, Seeks Penance

Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, the incoming archbishop of San Francisco, was arrested in San Diego over the weekend on suspicion of drunken driving.

The future Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco and current bishop of Oakland was arrested in San Diego over the weekend on suspicion of drunken driving, San Diego authorities said today.

The Rev. Salvatore Cordileone was arrested at a checkpoint near San Diego State University at 12:26 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence, San Diego police spokesman Detective Gary Hassen said.

He was jailed and released later Saturday on $2,500 bail and is due to appear in San Diego County Superior Court on that charge on Oct. 9, sheriff's department spokeswoman Melissa Aquino said.

Cordileone, 56, was appointed archbishop of San Francisco by Pope Benedict XVI in July and is slated to be installed in office in a ceremony at St. Mary's Cathedral in the city on Oct. 4. He issued a statement today acknowledging the arrest, apologizing for "my error in judgment" and asking forgiveness from family, friends and co-workers.

"While visiting in San Diego this past weekend, I had dinner at the home of some friends along with a priest friend visiting from outside the country and my mother, who lives near San Diego State University," Cordileone said in the statement.

"While driving my mother home, I passed through a DUI checkpoint the police had set up near the SDSU campus before I reached her home, and was found to be over the California legal blood alcohol level.

"I apologize for my error in judgment and feel shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the Church and myself," he said. "I will repay my debt to society and I ask forgiveness from my family and my friends and co-workers at the Diocese of Oakland and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I pray that God, in his inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this," the bishop said.

Hassen said the checkpoint where Cordileone was arrested was in the 5100 block of College Avenue near the state university campus. He said that as Cordileone went through the checkpoint, officers there determined that he "needed to be evaluated further."

After a preliminary evaluation, Cordileone was taken to a secondary area, given a field sobriety test and then arrested, the spokesman said. Hassen said he had no details about the test.

Aquino said Cordileone was booked into county jail at 2:33 a.m. Saturday, then released on $2,500 bail at 11:59 a.m. and given the Oct. 9 court date. In San Diego, misdemeanor DUI offenses are prosecuted by the city attorney's office. City attorney spokeswoman Gina Coburn said that as of Monday afternoon, Cordileone's records were not yet in that office's system.

Cordileone grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 1978, and was ordained a priest in San Diego in 1982, according to a biography provided by the archdiocese. After spending time in Rome, Costa Mesa and Calexico, he served as auxiliary bishop of San Diego from 2002 until he was appointed bishop of Oakland in 2009.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco encompasses San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties. The archbishop also supervises the dioceses of Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City and Honolulu.

--Bay City News

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