SAN FRANCISCO—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco recently revealed that he remains unvaccinated. The San Francisco Archdiocese has spoken positively about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and encourages churchgoers to get a shot.
During a podcast interview with the San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 1, Cordileone said he has a good immune system and his personal physician told him that it’s probably not necessary for him to be vaccinated.
According to ABC7, Cordileone appeared to agree with the Pope, stating, “I join Pope Francis and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in advising you to get vaccinated if your doctor recommends it.”
However, Cordileone emphasized that vaccines are a personal choice in an email statement to NTD Television. “When I joined with the other Catholic bishops of California in encouraging people to get vaccinated, I advised them to make that decision in consultation with their physician, in accordance with the unique realities of each one’s personal medical condition. It is also important to make that decision based on as complete and accurate scientific information as one can obtain. That is what I have done in my own case. It is always a very personal decision.
“The Archdiocese of San Francisco has consistently followed protocols that protect the community and each other, and we continue to do so. This includes staying home if one is feeling ill, which I would certainly do in my own case. And, as I have also emphasized, we all have a responsibility for the common good, and so should take all reasonable precautions to protect public health, regardless of vaccination status.”
This isn’t the first time that Cordileone has acted in contrast to the pope’s teachings.
In 2013, Pope Francis caught the attention of global news when he reached out to gay Catholics. During a press conference, the pope remarked that he wouldn’t judge someone who is gay and searches for the Lord.
Pope Francis’s predecessor, Benedict XVI, signed a document in 2005 listing the criteria for priesthood. The document stated that men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should be dissuaded from becoming priests.
Cordileone, likewise, has been outspoken against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
In 2015, the archbishop urged Catholic school teachers to lead their lives in accordance with the church’s doctrine. He proposed adding “moral clauses” to the teachers’ handbooks and labor contracts; such as a teacher could face punishment or dismissal for handing out contraception to students or for being a member of a white supremacist group.
According to multiple media outlets, Cordileone said his intention is about “making more explicit what our schools are called to uphold, even in the face of social pressure.”
Soon after, people gathered in front of St. Mary’s Cathedral to protest the archbishop’s proposal. A few months later, a group of churchgoers held a rally in response to show support for Cordileone.
The archdiocese didn’t respond to a request for an interview.