Over 100 prominent Roman Catholic’s have signed a full page advertisement, running in The San Francisco Chronicle, calling on Pope Francis to replace the San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone as they believe he fosters “an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”

Tom Brady Sr, father of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, was among the Catholics behind the letter to the Vatican following months of conflict in the archdiocese. Among the issues is the banning of female altar servers.

It reads “Holy Father please provide us with a leader true to our values and your namesake.”

Cordileone’s emphasis on traditional, conservative church doctrine has not gone down well with many. Among his recommendations was that high school staff sign a morality clause that characterizes, masturbation, sex outside of marriage and homosexual relations as “gravely evil.”

The faculty handbook would read “all extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.”

Several Bay Area lawmakers wrote a separate letter to the Archdiocese in February taking issue with the proposed handbook.

In the Chronicle ad those opposing the bishop called this morality clause mean-spirited and said it  “sets a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization.”

The letter says: “Instead of your famous words ‘Who am I to judge?’, Archbishop Corileone repeatedly labels the behavior of our fellow brothers and sisters (and their children) as ‘gravely evil’.

“He has selected a pastor who marginalized women’s participation in the church by banning girls from altar service and who inexplicably distributed to elementary school children an age-inappropriate and potentially abusive, sexually orientated pamphlet.

“The Archdiocese of San Francisco is threatened by Archbishop Corileone’s single-issue agenda, and cannot survive, let along thrive and grow under his supervision.”

The archdiocese immediately responded to the advert saying that the signatories do not speak for the San Francisco Catholic community.

Their statement read: “[The letter is] 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.’

Brady Snr who signed the letter attended a Catholic seminary for seven years before leaving. He is still active in his faith. He lives in San Mateo, where his Super Bowl-winning son was raised, and is now on the Catholic Junipero Serra High School board of regents.

Larry Nibbi, who also signed the letter, told the SFGate: “[He] is just causing a lot of discord, especially with the young people in the diocese.

“The crux of our worry is that the faithful are going to become very disenchanted and stop going to church because they don’t like the message, and the message is not the way they lead their lives.”

In March Cordileone was once again in the news for what his critics called “unChristian” behavior. The diocese’s main cathedral St Mary’s was found to have been fitted with sprinklers in their doorways used to deter homeless people seeking refuge at the church. The hoses were timed to pour water for around 75 seconds in each of its four doorways every 60 minutes without warning.

San Francisco's Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.Wikicommons / The American Life League