Pope names conservative Hispanic to succeed Cardinal Mahony in L.A.

Opus Dei member Jose H. Gomez
“This an epic moment in the life of the church,” exuded Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, the most populous U.S. Catholic archdiocese. The prelate was speaking of his projected successor to lead 4.18 million Catholics in heavily Hispanic southern California.

Pope Benedict XVI on April 6 named Mexican-born Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, to replace Mahony, who will reach the retirement age of 75 in February and step down in 2011.

Gomez, who has served in San Antonio since 2004, would be in line to become the nation’s first Hispanic to wear a red hat inasmuch as Los Angeles has been headed by cardinals for a half century.

Hispanics—or Latinos, as some prefer—today make up more than 35 percent of all Catholics in the U.S. and more than 50 percent of those under age 25, according to the bishops conference. Yet only 9 percent of U.S. bishops are Hispanic.


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