With the announcement that the next leader for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles would be Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, a milestone is reached for the Mexican-American Catholics not only in Los Angeles but for all Mexicans-Americans in the United States. Archbishop Gomez will be the highest ranking Mexican-American/Latino and the first Mexican-American Cardinal.
This is in recognition of the large Hispanic Catholic population in Los Angeles which is 70% of the 5 million that reside in the area. It is also significant that it did not take a mass movement by the Hispanic community to attain this appointment but it was an acknowledgement of the importance of the Hispanic community within the church.
This is in stark contrast of the appointment of Auxiliary Bishop Gilberto Chavez to the San Diego Diocese some 33 years ago which took a community and Chicano movement and protesting to ensure the appointment.
Archbishop Gomez is a proven fighter for the rights of immigrants with a unique understanding being born in Monterrey, Mexico. At the same time, Archbishop Gomez is a Catholic conservative as a member of the Opus Dei, which allows for little tolerance of the new ways, in particular toward the Gay and Lesbian communities. At the same time none of the priest associated with this organization have been involved with sex scandals that have embroiled the church, in particular the diocese in Los Angeles.
It will be Archbishop Gomez’ role to restore the faithful back to the church and to deal with the fallout from the 500 alleged abuse scandals from the church clergy, the $430 million dollar payout, and the continued investigation into the handling of the claims.
It will be with renewed hope for the Hispanic community that finally they have a Catholic leader that is Mexican-American after all these year.