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Latino Archbishop to Head the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

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Jose Gomez, the current Archbishop of San Antonio, is slated to take over the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, according to the LA Times, which notes that the Archdiocese is "by far the nation’s largest and is dominated by parishioners with roots in his native Mexico." He will take over for Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Mahony, who was known for his progressive ways, his stance on immigration rights and whose name was dragged through the clergy sex abuse scandal, will retire next-year February. “I welcome Archbishop Gomez to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with enthusiasm and personal excitement," he said in a statement.

Gomez, however, is seen as more traditional, if not conservative, than Mahoney. The Times points out his "strong anti-abortion" and anti-gay marriage stances.

But Mahony says Gomez will advocate for immigrants and the needy. "Over the years he has been a most effective leader working with priests serving the Spanish-speaking communities across the country, and his leadership in proclaiming the dignity and rights of our immigrant peoples has helped motivate many people to advocate for our immigrants," he said.

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Mahoney also addressed Gomez being labeled as a "conservative," because of his membership to Opus Dei, the "conservative and controversial Catholic organization" that gained pop culture notoriety in the Da Vinci Code. Opus Dei leaders have denounced those associations.

“Some may conclude that since Archbishop Gomez was ordained a priest of Opus Dei he must be 'conservative,' said Mahoney. "In fact, these labels of 'conservative' and 'liberal' are really unhelpful in the life of the Church. We are all called to a deep relationship with Jesus Christ, and I can attest that both of us share a common commitment to Christ and to the Church, and that both of us are interested in promoting the teachings of the Church fully as well as bringing the words and example of Christ to today’s society and world."

Meanwhile, LA Times columnst Steve Lopez is asking if Gomez will "press for real priest abuse reform" while many are pleased with today's announcement.