In response to a question at a parish meeting concerning why Fr Phillips was to be replaced, Bp Lopes replied only that this was in a letter from the Holy Father. Nobody outside a small Houston group has seen exactly what's in this letter, and it's not clear how an apparently more active role for Fr Phillips at OLA conforms to this letter.
Normally, a priest of any denomination who retires or leaves a parish for any other reason is ethically constrained to discontinue any formal relations with the former parish. That Fr Phillips would own property immediately adjoining the parish property is a problem in this context, which Msgr Steenson recognized.
There is in fact a faction at OLA -- I don't know how large -- that would like to see the parish make a new start after the controversies surrounding Fr Phillips. I assume Fr Lewis knew what he was getting into when he accepted the assignment to OLA, but the announcement of a more or less official change in Fr Phillips's status is not encouraging for those who might prefer a clean break.
If anyone can send a scan or direct quote from Sunday's bulletin, I'll appreciate it. While there's a page on the OLA site for bulletins, this hasn't been updated since January.
UPDATE: Clearly the matter here is nuanced. My regular correspondent notes,
Well, the original announcement said Fr Phillips would be the "Pastor Emeritus," as I recall, which did not suggest that he would be completely absent, unlike the typical situation of a retired pastor, as you describe. Pastors Emeriti exist in some abundance, I've discovered. The designation is at the discretion of the diocesan bishop.
That may be, but that a bulletin would seek to clarify Fr Phillips's status -- which it's doing -- indicates some clarification was in order, My correspondent replied,
[Y]ou wouldn't name someone Pastor Emeritus if you expected him to give the place a wide berth. If anyone expected that he was indulging in wishful thinking. Bulletin notice was invoking Fr Lewis to underline that it was useless to protest.
Initial accounts, including Sr Thurley's typically thorough one in VOL, describe Fr Phillips' future role as involving significant ministry in the parish.But that naturally implies someone was protesting something, or at minimum misunderstood something originally planned and announced. And the protest, perhaps based on misunderstanding, was presumably vocal enough to require a public slapdown. I don't see this developing well.
My advice to anyone with doubts about the OCSP, in San Antonio or anywhere else, continues to be to investigate diocesan options. Diocesan parishes are not uniform, and those that are successful are successful with good reason.