The following comes from an April 16 posting by Michael Sean Winters on the site of the National Catholic Reporter.
The decision by some prominent Catholics in San Francisco to take out a full-page ad in that city’s major newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, calling on Pope Francis to remove Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, is deeply regrettable. Full disclosure: A couple of weeks ago, a friend in San Francisco familiar with the plan to take out the ad called and asked my advice, and I encouraged her not to do so.
….I will also stipulate that I agree with the people who took out the ad that Archbishop Cordileone has made a series of bad decisions. I will also stipulate that, from the reports I receive, there is “an atmosphere of division and intolerance” in San Francisco, and this was foreseeable given the archbishop’s decisions and style of governance. But adopting the methods of a modern political campaign is not the way to address these issues. Giving a heckler’s veto to the disgruntled is not helpful. Our Scriptures are filled with stories of the people of God rebelling against their spiritual leaders, and we call those leaders prophets.
Having said all that, the Holy See has a problem on its hands. In the waning days of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, a series of prominent appointments were made, including the appointment of Archbishop Cordileone to San Francisco, that were deeply regrettable. At the time, there were three Americans on the Congregation for Bishops: Cardinal William Levada, Cardinal Justin Rigali, and Cardinal Raymond Burke. The last two had a deeply skewed sense of the type of leadership the Church in the United States needed, and a string of culture warrior bishops were appointed to prominent sees. In the case of the Sam Francisco appointment, they waited until Cardinal Levada, who had served as archbishop of San Francisco before becoming prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was in the hospital to push through +Cordileone. The prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, did not know what he should have known or did not act on what he knew and let the appointment go through. Pope Benedict signed off. It was a mistake.
If Pope Francis had done nothing except remove Cardinals Rigali and Burke from the Congregation for Bishops, that would have been enough to make me his biggest fan. But Archbishop Cordileone is not the first bishop to be appointed who is ill-suited to a given diocese, or even ill-suited to episcopal ministry, and he won’t be the last. The question for the Holy See is how to address such situations in a way that is appropriate to the Church, not to the reigning political methodologies of a given country….