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The Cord begins with Salvatore? An examination: Pt 1.

by Jeremy Hooper

In the past few days, both Maggie Gallagher and Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, two prominent figures in the Prop 8 push, have cited San Diego as the place, and its then-Auxillary Bishop, Salvatore Cordileone, as the person with whom the unprovoked fight to ignobly ban civil marriage in California began. Maggie:

I was asked to fly to San Diego in October of 2007 by a group of San Diego Catholics upset about the [Mayor Jerry Sanders'] betrayal. That meeting lead directly to NOM’s decision to try to raise a million dollars in January of 2008 to help Protect Marriage get this on the ballot. [Source]


So, I will tell you something you probably didn’t know: the initial push for Prop 8 came from San Diego. The money to get it on the ballot came from San Diego. Once it was on the ballot, people from all over the state jumped on the bandwagon to help. [Source]

It's something we'd heard before, but a point that's never gotten large play. There was this one in-depth article published in Eastbay Express this past summer:

What almost no one knows is that without Bishop Sal, gay men and lesbians would almost surely still be able to get married today. As an auxiliary bishop in San Diego, Cordileone played an indispensable role in conceiving, funding, organizing, and ultimately winning the campaign to pass Proposition 8. It was Bishop Sal and a small group of Catholic leaders who decided that they had to amend the state constitution. It was Bishop Sal who found the first major donor and flushed the fledgling campaign with cash. It was Bishop Sal who personally brought in the organization that took the lead on the petition drive. And it was Bishop Sal who coordinated the Catholic effort with evangelical churches around the state. Bishop Sal even helped craft the campaign's rhetorical strategy, sitting in on focus groups to hone the message of Proposition 8.
The Father of Proposition 8 [East Bay Express]

But for the most part, Cordelione was able to hide behind the massive Mormon cloud that followed the November '08 vote. Our ring fingers got chopped, yet his hands remained mostly clean.

So now, with Prop 8 back in a prominent light and folks like Maggie and Jennifer so eager to pull back the curtain on the Cordileone connection, we Cordileone Bishop13-1thought we should start looking a little more at the Catholic leader, to get a better understanding of why he decided to bring such torment to our lives, what his views are on marriage as a whole, and how he is still messing with us even now. So that's what we're planning to do over the next few days/weeks: Dig, dig dig for anything we can find.

Today we'll focus on the hypocrisy behind the Bishop's decision to interfere. First up: Let's listen to his immediate reaction to the Supreme Court decision that he and his pals would go on to forcibly rip apart with a bare majority vote. This audio clip comes from the "Catholic Answers Live" show, recorded the day after that glorious 5/15/08 ruling. It's long and rambly, but it sets up how thoroughly and unapologetically his views on civil marriage are shaped by his own Catholicism:

(click to play audio clip)
*SOURCE: Catholic Answers Live -- 5/16/08

So he's motivated by faith, which is not surprising in the least. But then, in that same exact show, he demonstrates that he does understand the distinction between church ceremony and civil marriage -- he just chooses not to respect that differentiation when it comes to same-sex couples:

(click to play audio clip)
*SOURCE: Catholic Answers Live -- 5/16/08

And then he does it again, later in the very same show:

(click to play audio clip)
*SOURCE: Catholic Answers Live -- 5/16/08

The disconnect is astounding. He is basing his entire opposition to civil law as it applies to gay folks on his Catholic faith, even though he clearly understands the separation. He, an expert in canon law, demonstrates a clear understanding of the limits of the church's doctrine in the larger world. So he'd never, ever try to ban heterosexual marriages of people of other faiths -- his church just wouldn't perform them. But when it comes to gays and lesbians, all bets are off, all limits are dropped, and bounds-oversteps are the order of the day. The canon becomes a cannon, and the gays of any and every faith (including none at all) become the victims. It's galling, really.

We do know that the Prop 8 challengers have submitted a couple of Cordileone videos into evidence, so we're hoping he will finally get some of the attention that he deserves, and that folks like MAggie and Jennifer seem so eager for him to have. We certainly plan to do our part.

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Your thoughts

"Fart Jokes" . .really? Methinks someone is trying to keep us on our toes.

Posted by: Jon | Jan 22, 2010 1:08:15 PM

I have no problem picturing Mrs Shrivstav on her broomstick flying out to San Diego to help the San Diego residents upset at Mayor Jerry Sanders arrival at common sense. Flying monkey Brian Brown left behind to mind the castle.

Posted by: John Ozed | Jan 23, 2010 12:44:05 PM

I happen to be one of that handful of folks in Oct 07 who met with Bishop Cordileone and asked Maggie Gallagher to fly out and come to the rescue of betrayed California in order to help us save the institution of marriage between a man and a woman. I know Bishop Cordileone well. He is a deeply spiritual, highly intellectual, warmly compassionate, and extremely witty yet humble human being. I encourage you to dig all you want, because the deeper you dig, the more respect you will have for this man. He loves the sinner, just hates the sin. Please don't berate him for upholding the Catholic faith God has called him to lead. He is basing his teachings on the tenants of natural law not on any personal attack or desire to cause suffering to anyone.

but also he has been called by God

Posted by: Grace D | Jan 23, 2010 10:27:46 PM

True to form, Grace D, you are overlooking the key point.

We in the LGBT community fully support your right to believe everything you just said. We support Bishop Cordileone's right to hold onto/teach whatever faith views he sees fit. But that does not allow for you, him, or anyone to use personal faith to affect CIVIL rights. CIVIL marriage. CIVIL law. And Catholics, who once suffered much discrimination in this country, should understand that!

Nobody is "berating," and frankly, I'm sick and tired of people like yourself immediately jumping on the "mean, angry gay" meme. We could not be more respectful to your faith!!!!! We could not be less desirous of any personal attacks!!!! But your movement is not respectful of our faith. And your actions are deeply personal to us.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 24, 2010 10:03:51 AM

These thoughts may be helpful in regard to Bishop Cordileone:

The question is not about two poles of legality--the Church and the state. Rather it is about the overall good of society and civilization. "Catholicism" is not a "religion" although we refer to it that way. "Catholicism is simply the observing and living out of the truth of the created order---how life itself actually works. When we discern that order and approach it honestly it works for the good of society. Bishop Cordileone is not imposing his religious views upon the state and therefore crossing legal boundaries or engaging in a legal disconnect. Rather he is simply standing up for what is honest to the created order. In this, an honesty about the meaning of words is critical. "Marriage" means something specific. To pretend that it does not or to arbitrarily redefine it is to affirm a certain dishonesty or fantasy. In the end the biggest loosers in this dishonesty will in fact be people who believe they have a sexual attraction to the same gender. It is a question of true sensitivity and true compassion and that sometimes comes in packages that may not always be familiar to us.

Posted by: Fr. Thomas J. Loya | Jan 27, 2010 7:28:58 AM

Mr. Loya,

Thank you for your oh-so warm & fuzzy sensitivity and compassion:

"The biggest loosers [sic] in this dishonesty will in fact be people who believe they have a sexual attraction to the same gender."

With respect, until you know me, you have *no* business telling me that my life is delusional. The fact that gays respect your right to believe in something completely unprovable (undisprovable, actually) and allow you to then make laws based on those beliefs shows just how respectful we, the gay community, are.

I will point out, sir, that your religion is very much a lifestyle choice. It is 100% changeable, and every day that you adhere to its teachings, you are making a lifestyle choice. Yet you have the audacity, the gall, to come here and tell gays that we merely "believe" we're attracted to people of the same sex?

You have a nerve, sir, and I hope your god teaches you a lesson in humility. Since you suggest that it's gays who need to learn about sensitivity and compassion, why don't you take the board out of your eye before focusing on the mote in ours?

Posted by: DN | Jan 27, 2010 9:31:57 AM

Bravo DN. Fr. Loya seems to have forgotten that we live in a country where freedom of religion (or from it) is protected by a secular society; a secular society demands freedom for all its citizens. To withhold basic civil and human rights from one segment of the citizenry based on religious belief goes against the very nature of our free society. It's baffling to me that this is so very difficult for Fr. Loya or Bishop Cordileone to grasp this simple concept. Without it, they would be relegated to practicing their religion under cover of darkness, in private homes and basements for Catholicism (as popular as it is) would certainly *not* be the state religion were we to have one. I shudder to think of the world perspective of the children raised under the tutelage of such freedom-hating individuals.

Posted by: ZnSD | Jan 27, 2010 2:34:35 PM


Thank you for your heartfelt response to my message. Cyberspace communication is never a worthy enough medium for topics that require great depth, sensitivity and nuance. Therefore, I would like to invite you or anyone else to speak with me in a telephone interview on my radio program, (the same program in which Bishop Cordileone appeared.)My program is, "A Body of Truth" www.catholicradiointernational.com You can just click on Comment Link or call us at 262-672-2979 to arrange an interview. I would be happy to speak with anyone on this topic.

In the meantime, when I say that people "believe" they have a sexual attraction, I am in no way denying what you are feeling and what is very real to you. I am simply pointing to the psycho-sexual, scientific realty of this attraction. It is an attraction and a mighty one at that. But it is not, in truth "sexual." It's nature and orign lie elsewhere but get manifested or translated "sexually." In being honest and scientifically accurate I am being truly compassionate and truly sensitive. Real compassion comes by way of truth. But as you can see, my message needs much explanation and elaboration and so I invite anyone to speak with me on my radio program. Feel fee to discuss, sound off or whatever. I prefer a discussion between actual persons rather than the inherent impersonal, anonymity of cyberspace communication.

You, DN, are a "person" to me over and above any other depersonalizing labels of "gay," "homosexual," or whatever. A person is defined as a creature worthy at all times of love, respect and dignity.

--Fr. Thomas J. Loya

Posted by: Fr. Thomas J. Loya | Jan 29, 2010 8:36:27 AM

"Cyberspace communication is never a worthy enough medium for topics that require great depth, sensitivity and nuance."

That is a beyond ridiculous thing to say, Fr. Loya. Written communication is, arguably, the *best* way to get into depth and nuance!

You have your personal views. But DO NOT call those views "scientific reality"! The actual body of credible science is nowhere close to where you are on the matter of sexual orientation. That is verifiable fact.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 29, 2010 8:45:17 AM

Mr. Loya,

Thank you for your invitation to your radio program; I respectfully decline.

I do so for two reasons. First, by attempting to clarify your position on sexual belief vs. realtiy, you addressed only one of my two major points.

The other, much more important point, is my assertion that religion is a 100% changeable lifestyle choice - you completely ignored that. For the sake of not putting words in someone else's mouth, I won't speculate as to why that was left out.

The second reason I decline your invitation was eloquently put into words by Mr. Hooper. For centuries, the written word has been the supreme method of communication for serious matters. Just for the sake of an example, isn't the written word of God, as found in the Bible, the best way of finding out what he was getting at?

I thank you for your wishes of love, respect, and dignity. I am truly fortunate to have all three in my life - none of which having anything to do with religion.

Posted by: DN | Jan 29, 2010 10:56:41 AM

My invitation to speak on my radio program for anyone who wants to discuss these issues still stands. This can be done simply by a telephone interview. My program is called, "A Body of Truth" carried on wwww.catholicradiointernational.com.
My format invites charitable, intelligent conversation on the hot button issues of our day.

Since "religion" seems to be an issue here I offer these thoughts:

All things in the physical order "speak a language," Through our intelligent and pheonomenological observance and experience of anything in the created order we eventually find that all things in the created order "speak" to us. We come to an understanding of what something is in its essence and we find words to describe that. Everything in creation "tells" us what it is and it can only be what it is regardless of whether we like it or not or what our feelings are about it. ("A Rose is a rose..")

But in "speaking" a language about itself, everything in the created order also points to the "why" behind itself. This is most especially true with the human body. Precisely because we have gendered parts to our body, and in fact our sexuality is replete throughout our being, our bodies "speak a language". They have, if you will, a certain "theology" meaning they point to transcendent realities: gift of self, union and communion of persons, life, unity, intimacy, etc. "Religion" simply points to those realities and states a fact: When we are honest to the language of something it works toward the betterment of society.

In reality The Church, simply acts like a "Press Secretary" for this created order, or in other words, for the Creator. The Church does not "make up" the created order. It only points to it and urges society to an honesty about it and warns against the ill effects of not perceiving this language, and in turn not acting in accord with it.

"Religious" people, such as a Bishop Cordileone, are committed to what works for the betterment of society. So they are naturally going to defend these things and be against what would threaten this good, not for the sake of a particular "religion" but simply for the overall good of society. This does not mean that the "religious" person is "against" someone. They are against philosophies, behavior, policies, laws, etc that threaten the order of creation. In fact, by defending the truths of the created order, they are "for" someone, in fact "for" everyone, even if that is not readily understood by someone.

A sign of real charity is the fact that a person remains steadfast in their defense of the created order even when they are attacked by the very people whose good they are trying to protect.

--Fr. Thomas J. Loya, STB.,MA.

Posted by: Fr. Thomas J. Loya | Jan 31, 2010 7:36:17 PM

I have made a couple of long comments about this post over at my blog, www.ruthblog.org. i thought it was too much to put in the comments section. i invite people to come over and have a look.

Posted by: Jennifer Roback Morse | Feb 11, 2010 6:20:43 PM

Actually, JRM, I'd prefer it if you'd cross post your thoughts here so that we can keep the flow going. No comment is too long. And unlike your side's sites (NOM being the worst offender), we actually welcome *all* comments.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Feb 11, 2010 6:28:02 PM

What Father Tom fails to realize is that we have a very limited view of the "natural order". For example, nobody in the early days of Christianity imagined that we could take oil from the ground and make it into a fuel to power engines. What made us realize that we could was not papal announcements or ecumenical councils, but applying reason and the scientific method to the world. The Catholic church has surprisingly little to say about the "natural world" since they were unable to create the tools we take for granted today (such as the computer that Father Tom takes advantage of).

In fact, when the Catholic church was the dominant force in Europe, historians refer to that period as "The Dark Ages".

Posted by: Brian Dean | Feb 18, 2010 11:47:31 PM

As far as homosexuality in the natural world, there are hundreds of different animal species that engage in homosexual acts. Many of them do it for the purpose of forming a close bond. In the case of bonobos, they even do it as payment (i.e. in exchange for bananas or other food).

However, what I would like to ask Father Tom is, why is missing Sunday liturgy such a serious sin? The catechism lists it as a mortal sin, which would put it on the same level as murder or having nonconsentual sex with a minor. I don't think any sane rational person here (besides perhaps Father Tom himself) would put missing the liturgy merely because you wanted to sleep in on the same level as raping a five year old. If Father Tom thinks it should, then would he support putting someone in jail for sleeping in on Sunday?

I, as well as any sane rational adult on this board, could list many more superstitious and delusional teachings of the Catholic church. For example, does Father Tom really believe that the flood of Noah was a world wide flood?

Posted by: Brian Dean | Feb 18, 2010 11:48:20 PM

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