"The religious fabric of the San Francisco archdiocese has been torn, and it did not need to happen. Intentionally or not, it has been wrenched," said Thomas Sheehan, a Stanford University scholar who summarized what several observers shared with NCR.
"Bold," "brazen," "courageous," "combative," "timely" and "bombshell" were among descriptions that greeted the 2012 appointment of Salvatore Cordileone, then bishop of Oakland, Calif., to the high-profile San Francisco archdiocese.
In the nearly three years since Cordileone succeeded Archbishop George Niederauer, the new archbishop seems to have done little to change the minds of those who made those initial assessments.
Updated: "The language is softer, but the message is still hurtful and wrong," said a student at one of the archdiocesan high schools.
"I very much like the fact that he's unafraid to stand up for the church's teaching," one supporter said.
"The church has told us that it honors all civil rights and labor rights. You cannot profess social justice if within your own walls you refuse to practice it."
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called same-sex marriage "the greatest social experiment of our time" and said that "children do not need experiments," but rather the love of a mother and father at the third annual March for Marriage rally Saturday supporting traditional marriage on Capitol Hill.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was a lead speaker at last year's March for Marriage and at one time was listed as a featured speaker for this year.
Canonical and court documents from 2003 and 2005 about the ministry of Fr. Joseph Illo have further enraged parents at Star of the Sea School.
"I think [Cordileone is] doing a marvelous job under very difficult circumstances. Taking ads out in the local paper against the archbishop only brings discord and divisiveness."
The signees of an open letter to Pope Francis are the "bedrock of the archdiocese," one of them said at a press conference Thursday morning.