- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

San Francisco’s Catholic archbishop has rejected calls to boycott Thursday’s March for Marriage in the District, saying he has a duty to speak “the whole truth” that marriage is the conjugal union of husband and wife.

The march “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 Salvatore Cordileone said in a letter to California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and dozens of other politicians, religious leaders and advocacy groups who asked him to stay away from the Capitol Hill march.

The “whole truth” about “the human person and God’s will for our flourishing” should be said even when unpopular, he wrote, adding that Pope Francis recently promoted the precise vision of marriage when he said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.”

Calls for Archbishop Cordileone to cancel his appearance surfaced a week ago — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said he shouldn’t stand with people who show “disdain and hate towards” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Some 30,000 people have sided with Mrs. Pelosi by signing a Faith America petition that says that by speaking alongside “extremists,” Archbishop Cordileone “risks lending the church’s authority to their vitriol and hatred.”

Mrs. Pelosi’s request irritated many Catholics, including Catholic League President Bill Donohue, who noted that, despite being a Catholic herself, Mrs. Pelosi is “never offended” when Catholicism is mocked “in patently obscene ways” in San Francisco gay pride parades.

In his reply to Mr. Newsom and others, Archbishop Cordileone said the march was “pro-marriage,” not “anti-LGBT.”

He disputed some accusations against march sponsors, decried “harsh and hateful rhetoric” on all sides of the gay marriage issue, and offered to personally meet with critics.

“It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other, and softens the heart,” the archbishop wrote, adding “before you judge us, get to know us.”

• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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