The pope acknowledged his comments might sound anachronistic or ‘‘countercultural,’’ particularly to the young. But he told bishops to not back down in the face of ‘‘powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage.’’
‘‘Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage,’’ he said.
The appointment letter the pope wrote appointing Cordileone was led aloud at the installation mass. In it, Benedict said he appealed to the archbishop’s parishioners ‘‘to give you a warm welcome and to remain in communion with you.’’
For his part, Cordileone mentioned marriage only obliquely during his homily. Thursday was the feast day of San Francisco’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi, and the archbishop said that St. Francis, too, lived during a time of spiritual unrest, ‘‘even to the point of denigrating marriage on the basis that it was purely a material reality.’’
Cordileone’s arrest in August came after he was stopped at a police checkpoint near San Diego State University. His mother and a visiting priest from Germany were with him in the car he was driving. He said at the time that he had consumed some alcohol while having dinner with friends then decided to drive his mother home.
Associated Press Writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego, Calif. and Rome Bureau Chief Victor L. Simpson contributed to this story.