This mornings appointment of Archbishop Jose Gomez as the successor to Los Angeles’ Cardinal Mahoney is a welcome announcement for the Catholic Church in the United States. As Coadjutor-Archbishop of Los Angeles, Gomez will be uniquely poised to take over the total administration of the Archdiocese when the Cardinal reaches the canonical age of retirement in February 2011.

Well regarded and held in high esteem by other members of the Church’s hierarchy, Archbishop Gomez is perhaps the most logical appointment for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles because of his Hispanic heritage, but also because he had consistently shown his pastoral leadership in the Archdioceses of Denver, as an auxiliary bishop and as Archbishop of San Antonio. During his tenure in both of these positions, Archbishop Gomez has diligently applied the Catholic Church’s moral teachings and worked with great zeal in considering the needs of migrants and immigrants of Hispanic origins.

Uniquely, he is also the only member of the American Catholic hierarchy that is a member of the personal prelature of Opus Dei. Initially ordained a priest for the service of the personal prelature of John-Paul II, Archbishop Gomez has risen steadily through the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. With an education that was based in Rome through Opus Dei, Los Angeles Catholics can expect their future Archbishop as one that observes Catholic Church teachings and doctrines from the perspective of Rome and Pope Benedict XVI.

With the appointment of Archbishop Gomez to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Pope Benedict XVI is sending a clear signal to the American Catholic Church that he trusts the future Ordinary of Los Angeles to effectively handle the crisis of clergy sex abuse that took place during the tenure of Cardinal Mahoney. With the appointment of Gomez, Catholics in the Los Angeles Archdiocese can anticipate another Archbishop that will become a member of the College of Cardinals after the retirement of the current incumbent. Most importantly, Benedict XVI is showing pastoral concern for the increasing number of Hispanic Catholics that continues to grow in the American Catholic Church. According to latest figures the Catholic population of Hispanic heritage is over one third of the American Catholic believers’ ranks in the United States. South America continues to develop as the largest Catholic population in the world. The appointment of Archbishop Gomez signals a developing awareness of the Hispanic influences in the Western hemisphere, especially in the Western United States.

With Archbishop Gomez’s ties to Opus Dei, the importance of evangelization and catechesis according to the traditional norms of the Catholic Church marks a strong departure for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which has traditionally had a less than orthodox approach to Catholicism. During his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has made appointments of bishops in the United States of those that are mostly conservatives in interpreting Church teachings and directives, much to the disappointment of groups that are in favor of ordination of women and full inclusion of active homosexuals into daily Church life.

Most importantly, Archbishop Gomez at fifty-eight years old presents a new breed of traditional bishops that are obedient to the direction that Rome offers for the Universal Church. The liberal tendencies of the Catholic Church in the United States that developed after the Second Vatican Council are finally on the verge of total demise.

With this significant appointment of Archbishop Gomez, the Catholic Church in the Western United States is moving towards a revival of traditional and orthodox Catholicism, something Los Angeles hasn’t seen in decades.

Thank God for the appointment of Archbishop Gomez to the See of Los Angeles. Ad Multos Annos!

Hugh J.McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist writing on Catholic topics and issues. He attended Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he studied both philosophy and theology. He writes frequently at & . Hugh writes about his Irish Catholic upbringing and educational experiences at . He has contributed works to Catholic News Agency, Catholic Online, The Irish Catholic, Dublin, the British Broadcasting Company, London and the Philadelphia Bulletin, Catholic Exchange,, Blogger News Network & The Catholic Business Journal, & Comments are always welcome at

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