Eric Jaye, a veteran San Francisco Democratic consultant who worked on Pelosi’s first House race in 1987, called the archbishop’s move “so predictable. He has been pushing ideological boundaries since the day he got here.”
“He might be the archbishop of San Francisco, but he is not from San Francisco,” Jaye added. “I don’t think in any way what he does reflects the opinion of the majority of the community of the Catholic faithful here in San Francisco.”
He stressed that the dispute was about church doctrine, not about Pelosi.
“This has nothing to do with American politics. It has everything to do with Vatican politics,” he said. “Are there political ramifications in San Francisco? No. There is not a single voter in Pelosi’s district who abandons their support for her because of this. In fact there are probably thousands who will join her because of this.”
Jim Ross, a Democratic consultant who has worked in San Francisco politics for 35 years, suggested that Cordileone was attempting to use Pelosi’s name recognition and popularity in the city to draw attention to his message.
“Pelosi’s maybe three times, four times more popular than the archbishop and much better known,” Ross said. “He’s trying to use Nancy Pelosi to make a point around a woman’s right to choose. This is a publicity stunt that has no real impact on either the debate in San Francisco where it stands or anything else that’s really pertinent.”
Ross, a lapsed Catholic, was also critical of the direction Cordileone has led the church in terms of its relationship with the city.
“The archbishop in San Francisco has not been relevant in civil life in years. He’s made a choice — that he wants to be in opposition to the civic and government life in San Francisco rather than find laces of agreement. As somebody who’s a lapsed Catholic, who went to Catholic school, I found it disappointing that the archbishop hasn’t found a way to work with the city on things that they can work on together.”
Like much of the West Coast, San Francisco has roots in the Catholic Church and Spanish missions, Ross said, noting that the city has large communities of Irish, Italian and Latino families, as well as what was once a large and influential parochial school system.
Oil magnate Gordon Getty, Gov. Jerry Brown and William Newsom, the late father of the current governor, attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory; Gov. Gavin Newsom attended Notre Dame Des Victoires for a few years.