On Wednesday, April 15, the San Francisco Chronicle reported “Prominent Catholics call on pope to oust S.F. archbishop.” The column began “In an unprecedented move, more than 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members signed a full-page ad running Thursday in the Chronicle that calls on Pope Francis to replace San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for fostering “an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”
Full-page weekday ads in the Chronicle cost $60,889, according to published information on the Nationwide Newspaper Advertising website. A 2013 article in SF Weekly confirmed the astronomical cost, reporting full-page ads in the Chronicle range $59,000 to $92,000. The advertisers may have bought more than the ad: photo #6 of 13 accompanying the Chronicle’s story was captioned “Archbishop. Your shocking intolerance, homophobia and sexual dread are not much threat at all anymore, and are actually increasingly quaint.”
The ad objected, among other things, to the archbishop’s new initiative to keep Catholic schools Catholic, his defense of natural marriage, and his appointment of Father. Joseph Illo as pastor of San Francisco’s Star of the Sea Church.
The archdiocese responded to the ad, calling it “a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, a misrepresentation of the nature of the teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the archbishop. The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for ‘the Catholic Community of San Francisco.’
The Chronicle’s breathless report that “more than 100” persons signed the ad is reminiscent of their recent report that “over 100” people attended a March meeting opposing Star of the Sea’s pastor Father Joseph Illo. The Chronicle did not report that on Palm Sunday more than five times as many parishioners signed petitions of support of Father Illo.
The archdiocese’s point “The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for ‘the Catholic Community of San Francisco” is accurate. As the Chronicle story, the cost of the ad, and the names of many of the signatories indicate, the ad far over-represents the “1%”, wealthy and politically connected, which, in San Francisco, can mean only leftist and liberal.
Signatories included Brian Cahill, past executive director of Catholic Charities. It was under Cahill’s tenure that Catholic Charities embarked on the disastrous partnership with Family Builders by Adoption, who described themselves as “about the gayest adoption agency in the country.” That partnership contractually obligated Catholic Charities to “Increasing the number of children adopted by Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) adults” –deliberately placing children in situations that would deprive them of a mother or father. That dissolution of that partnership was announced in 2008 and Cahill was gone soon after.
Signatories also included former political consultant and president of the board of directors of Catholic Charities Clint Reilly, and his current wife Janet. As a political consultant Clint Reilly ran campaigns for pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage politicians Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Nancy Pelosi, among others. He is now an extremely wealthy real estate mogul. As far back as 2004 an article in the SF Weekly mentioned “Reilly’s estimated $100 million fortune.” During her failed 2006 campaign for the assembly, Janet Reilly “announced support for same-sex marriage and adoption by LGBT couples” according to the Bay Area Reporter. She supports abortion rights and has been a regular at NARAL Pro-Choice America’s annual Power of Choice luncheons, appearing there in 2010, 2011, and 2014.
Another signatory, attorney Frank Pitre, a partner in Cotchett, Pitre, & McCarthy, told the Chronicle: “It seems he (Cordileone) is going in a direction that is completely opposite where Pope Francis is going and creating an atmosphere of complete intolerance.” This in spite of Pope Francis’s description of same-sex “marriage” as “a move from the father of lies” and of being part of the “ideological colonization” that attempts the destruction of the family. Ironically, Pitre’s statement came on the same day the Holy Father made headlines worldwide for blasting “gender theory.”
Another signatory was Larry Nibbi, from Nibbi Brothers Construction, one of the largest general contractors in San Francisco. In 2014, Nibbi had revenue of $199 million, according to Engineering News-Record annual report on the country’s top 400 contractors.
Another signatory is Terence Coleman, a partner in the law firm Pillsbury and Coleman (although the ad gives his affiliation as with the firm’s former name, Pillsbury & Lebvinson), with offices in San Francisco’s iconic Transamerica pyramid. His bio on P & C’s webpage says Mr. Coleman “was named a Northern California ‘Super Lawyer’ in 2006 through 2014.”
The wealthy, with honorable exceptions, have never been fond of the Church —even when they are by birth Catholic. Christ himself said, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”