“Both are necessary, both, together, if we wish to have a flourishing society: truth and love,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said June 19 at the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C.
One of several speakers, Archbishop Cordileone urged participants to “proclaim this truth especially with love for those who disagree with us on this issue, and most of all, for those who are hostile toward us.”
Archbishop Cordileone joined in the March for Marriage despite receiving criticism from Nancy Pelosi and others concerning his participation. He responded to reproaches in a letter June 16.
The March for Marriage “affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union,” Archbishop Cordileone said in a letter published by the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
The intrinsic human dignity of every person “requires me, as a bishop, to proclaim the truth — the whole truth— about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing … even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife,” he said.
The march began with a rally at 11 a.m. Archbishop Cordileone, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, was one of several speakers at the pre-march rally.
“The March for Marriage is not ‘anti-LGBT,’” Archbishop Cordileone stated in his letter. “It is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March.”
If the intention of the event was “to single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, I most certainly would not be there,” he continued.
Archbishop Cordileone wrote the letter in response to two letters he received from government and community leaders requesting him to not participate in the march.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee both signed a letter urging Archbishop Cordileone to “reconsider his participation,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The march was organized by the National Organization for Marriage and is supported by the Family Research Council and other pro-marriage groups, which Newsom and Lee’s letter claimed are “some of the nation’s most virulently anti-LGBT organizations and leaders,” according to Catholic News Agency.
The letter was also signed by several other California and San Francisco government leaders, dissenting Catholic groups, LGBT advocacy groups, and non-Catholic clergy.
“While I cannot go into all of the details here of your allegations against the sponsors of this event and scheduled speakers, I do know that at least some of what you say is based on misinterpretation or is simply factually incorrect,” Archbishop Cordileone wrote.
In a separate letter, House Minority Leader and self-identified Catholic Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote to the archbishop, saying, "We share our love of the Catholic Faith and our city of San Francisco," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Pelosi characterized the march as “venom masquerading as virtue.” Referencing Pope Francis’ comments in a July 2013 interview, Pelosi wrote, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?”
Archbishop Cordileone agreed that violence perpetrated against people with same-sex attraction “is to be deplored and eradicated,” but pointed out that those who believe in “the conjugal understanding of marriage” are now also being attacked for their support.
“Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence,” he stated.
The archbishop ended his letter entreating those who disagree to reserve judgment and to get to know those who support marriage between one man and one woman.
“I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other. It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart. In the end, love is the answer, and this can happen even between people with such deep disagreements,” he said.