Catholic Distance University honored Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco with the Founders Award, its highest honor, for his “fearless pastoral leadership in upholding the truths of the Catholic Church” at its annual gala on November 17th. The event was held at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., and offered the CDU community an opportunity to celebrate the university’s 39th year and look toward its future. The Very Reverend Joseph R. Gibino, Pastor, and Vicar for Evangelization and Catechesis of the Diocese of Brooklyn, served as the Master of Ceremonies.
Archbishop Cordileone Delivers Remarks upon Receiving the Founders Award
CDU Chancellor and USCCB President Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, presented the Founders Award to Archbishop Cordileone, lauding him as “a champion for human dignity, an outspoken advocate for the unborn, mothers in crisis, the rights of migrants and immigrants, and the homeless, and a staunch defender of the Catholic faith” whose mission aligns closely with that of CDU.
Archbishop Cordileone thanked attendees for all they do to support CDU. “Education is such an important part of rebuilding civilization,” he said, “and our civilization is being attacked on so many fronts.” “We live in an age that contests what is good,” he said, decrying attacks on innocent human life.
Truth, Beauty, and Goodness
He reflected on the enduring power of truth, beauty, and goodness as doorways to God for all in an age of secularism and cancel culture, giving the destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral as an example. “The entire world mourned the loss,” he said. “The timelessness of sacred beauty gives it the power to lift us out of the world of time and gives us a glimpse of that which transcends time….ultimately, the reality of God.”
Cancel Culture Targets Western Civilization and Ultimately, Jesus Christ
Archbishop Cordileone spoke about the long history of cancel culture and its painful legacy. “We are living in an age of cancel culture. Was not our Lord ejected from influence because he posed a threat to the worldly power of the governing authorities and the leaders of his own people? Were not the people quick to judge without thinking things through?”
“What do the cancellers really want to cancel out?” he asked. “It is far more than those who disagree with them. The real activists are seeking to discredit the great protagonists of western civilization—both in the history of our country and in the Church.”
“By trying to cancel out western civilization, what the cancellers are really trying to cancel out is the Church,” he continued, explaining that “Mass encapsulates all of western civilization and brings together truth, beauty, and goodness all in one place.”
“We need to gaze upon Christ on the cross and truly behold our king, the one who truly gave all for us though He had no need to receive anything from us. Jesus Himself is the blueprint for a civilization of truth and love, a civilization imbued with a Christian ethos. The drive to cancel this out, then, is a drive to cancel out the founder of the Church, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.”
Jesus Came to Cancel Out Sin
But, he reminded the crowd, “There is one cancel culture our Lord did come to establish: cancelling out sin. He has done that on the cross, cancelling out the debt we owed to God but could not pay ourselves.”
“That is the good news, and the pattern for how the human person lives in accordance with the original human dignity that God gave us. But someone needs to tell this to the world, to open deaf ears and break through the cacophony of postmodern cancel culture so the message can get out, penetrate hearts, and take root there,” Archbishop Cordileone said.
He thanked the CDU community for using modern technology to educate and evangelize.
Academic Convocation Mass and Graduation
The evening began with an Academic Convocation Mass for the class of 2021-2022, which included a graduation ceremony for the graduates present. They hailed from throughout the USA and Canada.
Chancellor Archbishop Timothy Broglio served as the principal celebrant. The Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco; Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington; Bishop Mark E. Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston; Bishop Emeritus Paul S. Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington; Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Octavio Cisneros of the Diocese of Brooklyn; and 15 priests and deacons.