'Faithful to the teachings of the church and to the Gospel': Archbishop Gomez Takes LA
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez is highly regarded for theological orthodoxy, a pastoral heart and teaching gifts
The faithful of the Archdiocese of the Angels have been given an extraordinary gift, a holy, faithful, courageous, joyful and dynamically orthodox new Shepherd to lead them at a critical time in Church history. Stay tuned, the real story on the appointment of the new Archbishop of Los Angeles has yet to be written.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On April 6, 2010 a Co-Adjutor Archbishop was appointed to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, a move which has huge implications not only for Los Angeles but for the Church in the United States and the entire American continent. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez is highly regarded for his theological orthodoxy, his warm pastoral heart and his teaching gifts. His selection is another example of the astute leadership of Pope Benedict XVI.
He is a long time proponent of the "New Evangelization" advocated by the Venerable Pope John Paul II, to whom he has had a long and deep devotion. In fact, his marvelous letter entitled "You Will Be My Witnesses" is one of the best statements on the Call to the New Evangelization available. He is a passionate advocate for the poor and the authentic Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, properly understood.
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez is beloved by many, many people. He is, in a special way, loved within the Hispanic community. He has an abiding friendship with the Archbishop of Mexico City. He was born in Monterrey, Mexico. He is the only "Numerary" (celibate and lifelong member) of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei currently serving in episcopal office. He was ordained a priest for Opus Dei in 1978.
He first served as an auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Charles Chaput in Denver. Archbishop Chaput is also beloved by many and, like Archbishop Gomez, is known as a dynamically orthodox Bishop. Then, Archbishop Gomez was sent to San Antonio where he again served with distinction. Time Magazine named the Bishop one of the most influential Hispanic leaders in America.
On February 27, 2011 Archbishop Gomez will automatically assume the office of Archbishop of the Los Angeles without any further action. The appointment of a Co-Adjutor usually fuels speculation and this appointment was no exception. However, within a very short time he has won over many of who initially expressed concerns about his appointment. Observers of this good Bishop were not surprised by the way in which this he has been received by the faithful of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
He has eased some earlier concerns expressed in some circles of the huge Archdiocese based upon his undeniable commitment to theological orthodoxy and orthopraxy. He is well known for his pastoral heart and sincere love for the Lord and for all of His people. People immediately like him and discern his close relationship with the Lord. From those who know him, he has that wonderful blend of personal warmth and doctrinal fidelity which are both so needed in our Bishops. However, there is little doubt that the Archdiocese of the angels will not be the same under his leadership.
The Archbishop gave a lengthy and candid interview a week before Christmas to Mitchell Landsberg, of the Los Angeles Times. It was released in its entirety in the Sunday edition of the Times, on February 13, 2011. The timing of the release of the transcript, like most matters involving such a significant transfer of leadership in the Church, was certainly not an accident. It is very enlightening and can be read in its entirety here. I have chosen three questions, along with the Archbishops answers, because they give us insights into who he is and where I believe this huge and influential Archdiocese will be headed under his leadership.
There's a presumption that you are somehow more conservative than Cardinal Mahony. Do you see any grounds for people saying that? Are there ways in which you might be?
No, I really don't like to talk about - you know, those are kind of political terms, conservative and liberal. I think we all are called to be faithful to the teachings of the church and to the Gospel. You know, obviously my background in Opus Dei sounds like a more conservative. But I'm as conservative as Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict.
You know, I give you an example: Opus Dei, before the Second Vatican Council, was the most liberal organization in the Catholic Church, because it talked about the participation of the lay faithful. That was not normal at that time. And then, somehow, after the Second Vatican Council, it became one of the most conservative organizations in the church.
Which, you know, those terms don't really apply to the Gospel. I don't know, I think it's artificial. I'm totally committed to the issue of immigration. I'm also committed to the culture of life. So in political terms those are things that are on the opposite sides sometimes, but the church is richer than those political labels.
But theologically, I suppose one can speak of someone who is more traditional or less traditional. Where would you put yourself on that ...
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