One thing that’s not been mentioned today in the raft of stories about the new archbishop-to-be of Los Angeles is that the nominee got passed over for the cardinalate in 2007.
When Pope Benedict XVI unexpectedly named Galveston-Houston Archbishop Daniel DiNardo as one of 23 new cardinals, it surprised most analysts, who expected that Archbishop of San Antonio Jose Gomez would be Texas’ first cardinal. American Catholics, who are 35 percent Hispanic, have for years been asking for a Spanish-speaking cardinal.
Here are a few factoids about Latinos’ clout in the Catholic Church. They are two-fifths of the nation’s 68 million Catholics.
Archbishop Gomez was very gracious at the time about missing out on the position, but a lot of us wondered why San Antonio got upstaged. Sure, Houston is larger, but Archbishop Gomez was the nation’s only Hispanic archbishop, plus it was San Antonio, not Houston, that Pope John Paul II visited during his 1987 swing through the United States. San Antonio has been a sentimental favorite for Hispanics because the seat of its archbishop, San Fernando Cathedral, founded in 1731, always has been Spanish-speaking.
Well, today is surely Archbishop Gomez’s day, as he now has a bigger prize than Houston: Los Angeles, the country’s largest Catholic archdiocese at 5 million parishioners, 70 percent of whom are Hispanic. For more details, check out the always helpful Whispers in the Loggia blog here.
— Julia Duin, religion editor