The following comes from a May 22 story in the National Catholic Reporter (online).

When Jesuit Fr. Michael Barber is ordained as the fifth bishop of Oakland on May 25, he will assume leadership of a large, multi-cultural diocese with a $114.7 million debt and clergy who are frustrated that plans to tackle fiscal problems and administrative inefficiencies had to be put on hold….

The May 3 announcement of Barber’s appointment came as a surprise, especially to priests who had been called to a May 6 meeting, believed by many to focus on administrative reorganization of the cathedral complex and some aspects of the Chancery. That meeting was cancelled May 2. “While we have been anxious for a replacement to be named, the priests of the diocese were told this would not happen until the fall,” wrote Fr, Robert McCann to his parishioners at St. Theresa Church in Oakland in the May 12 parish bulletin.

McCann questioned the quick scheduling of the episcopal ordination, just a month after Barber accepted the appointment. “This is amazingly fast,” McCann wrote, noting that Father Peter Loy Chong, who has been living at St. Theresa’s while earning a doctorate at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, will not be ordained Archbishop of Fiji until June 8, though he was named a bishop last December.

Others, speaking to NCR on the condition that their names not be used, said that they fear that some in the diocese pushed the Barber ordination forward quickly to stall implementation of the reorganization.

Some saw the reorganization as a partial response to an undercurrent of discontent about [Bishop] Cordileone’s leadership in Oakland that surfaced during a convocation of priests in October 2011, two and one-half years after he came to the diocese.

In two workshops, 59 priests identified issues that they presented to Cordileone. Summary documents obtained by NCR reveal that these included a perception that collaboration and consultation were undervalued in his administration, that an “ascending ecclesiology of the church” was being imposed on religious education training programs that “does not foster a broader ecclesiological framework and theological perspective,” and that morale had deteriorated among Chancery staff and parish priests.

The priests also expressed concern about a “lack of awareness, lack of attention, and a lack of resources to the pastoral and multicultural reality of the diocese.“

To read the entire story, click here.