San Francisco archbishop-elect apologises over drink-driving arrest

Tuesday 28 August 2012 14.58
Salvatore Cordileone was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of drink-driving
Salvatore Cordileone was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of drink-driving

The newly-chosen Catholic archbishop of San Francisco has publicly apologised after he was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

Salvatore Cordileone, 56, who was appointed in July by Pope Benedict XVI, was taken into custody on Saturday near San Diego State University.

He was jailed on suspicion of driving under the influence after he was stopped at a police checkpoint and failed a field sobriety test, police spokesman Detective Gary Hassen said.

The bishop was released on $2,500 bail (€2,000) about 11 hours after his arrest.

He had dined earlier with friends and another priest and was driving his mother home when he was arrested, he said in a statement released by his diocese yesterday.

The bishop acknowledged that his blood-alcohol level was found to be over the legal limit.

He apologised for his "error in judgment" and said he felt "shame for the disgrace I have brought upon the church and myself".

"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," he said in the statement.

An arraignment in the case has been scheduled for 9 October.

Bishop Cordileone is due to be installed at a special mass on 4 October as head of an archdiocese encompassing 91 parishes in San Francisco and the neighbouring counties of San Mateo and Marin.

He is replacing Archbishop George Niederauer, who is retiring.