Speculating on Gomez

First of all, I need to introduce myself: my name is Michael Denton and I’m from what Tito calls the People’s Republic of Cajunland and what I call paradise: South Louisiana. As for my qualifications: well, like most other bloggers, I really have no idea what I’m talking about. If that’s a problem for you…well, then you probably don’t need to be reading blogs.

Anyway, today we heard the anticipated news that Los Angeles will soon see Cardinal Mahoney replaced with San Antonio’s Archbishop Jose Gomez. To read all about it, I suggest you head over to Rocco Palmo‘s site, as he is one of the few bloggers who actually does know what he’s talking about. In sum, Abp. Gomez is from the “conservative” order of Opus Dei and could be very different from his predecessor, who built a monstrous cathedral (not in a good way) and is known for hosting a Conference that annually provides Youtube clips for Catholics wishing to show others just how bad liturgical abuse can be. I don’t know if that’s very interesting though. While the liturgical element is certainly important, as the “Spirit of Vatican II” types are losing their foremost defender, I think we knew beforehand that Benedict was going install a replacement very different from Mahoney in liturgical views.

More important is how they’re similar.

Remember, that while Catholics-in-the-know think “liturgy” when think of Mahoney, to the rest of the world Mahoney brings up either immigration or the sex abuse scandal. Mahoney was a strong defender of the Catholic Church’s teaching on immigration, even going so far as to push the point in December in the healthcare debate when other bishops had left the issue to focus on abortion coverage. While Los Angeles is significantly Hispanic, I don’t think its an accident that America’s leader in promotion of the Church’s immigration issues will be followed by a Hispanic.I think then this is a signal that Benedict wants continued attention to the issue of immigration and the Church’s teaching on the subject. While many Catholics don’t realize that there is such a thing as “Church teaching on immigration” (and I include myself in this number until a few years ago), Benedict has emphasized it, including in his latest encyclical Caritas in Veritate:

62… We are all witnesses of the burden of suffering, the dislocation and the aspirations that accompany the flow of migrants. The phenomenon, as everyone knows, is difficult to manage; but there is no doubt that foreign workers, despite any difficulties concerning integration, make a significant contribution to the economic development of the host country through their labour, besides that which they make to their country of origin through the money they send home. Obviously, these labourers cannot be considered as a commodity or a mere workforce. They must not, therefore, be treated like any other factor of production. Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance

Benedict, popularized as a conservative, has cared about this issue and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he has installed a bishop from a conservative order to carry on the mantle of social justice for immigrants in the American Church. After all, Caritas in Veritate’s hope was to put an end to the false division between social justice issues and the life issues that we find dividing American Catholics politically. This appointment is, if nothing else, yet another call by our Holy Father to American Catholics for a holistic embracing of the teachings of the Church.

So while conservatives rejoice at the sufferings the liberals must endure at the loss of their liturgical dancers, it would be wise to remember that Benedict wants some change from the right as well.

36 Responses to Speculating on Gomez

  • Just a note. Opus Dei is not a Religious order. Its a Personal Prelature with the priest being incardinated in it.

  • A second note. The Church does recognize the right of the state to regulate immigration. Gomez recognizes this and sees that there must be some penalty for violating immigration laws (though he does not recommend deportation.)

  • Yes, I think a critical distinction needs to be made between those who advocate “open boarders” and those who simply believe in treating immigrants with dignity and respect.

    I really hope that Gomez puts an end to liturgical abuse, to sacrilege, to ceremonies that are more pagan than Christian, as well.

  • Welcome soon to be second year law student! Your first year of legal hell is almost up!

  • I look forward, with very guarded hope, to Archbishop Gomez’s ascension to the throne of Mahoneyland, er, I mean, the Archdiocese of L.A. I had occasion to write him some time ago regarding a concern I had with actions and attitudes here in the Diocese of “All Borders are heinous injustices.”

    That said, I think we do the Catechism (where the full foundation of Church teaching is to be found) serious disservice when we reduce it word-searching. “See, see here! It says immigrant!”

    A nation or people may be called to account for how outsiders within their borders are treated. I think we sometimes take that notion and run straight to the place from which we so often hear Card. Mahoney and others villify the nation for our “inhumane” treatment of Latino (and that’s all anyone really cares about here) immigrants.

    If you want to see migrants (brought to the country legally, often by the government, to work in the “jobs our citizens won’t do” category, go to Saudi Arabia and see how they treat the Filipinos and other island (and some Asian) “third country nationals.” They are normally corraled in living areas near where they work and transported to/from their work areas with little or no ceremony. If they venture into Saudi cities on their free time, they do so with virtually no expectation of good treatment by any authorities. Any rights or dignity thewy might be afforded will be owing only to their demonstrated adherance to Islamic “faith.”

    Unless it truly is unacceptable to have and enforce borders (and if so, I missed that article in the Catechism), we need to accept that the licitness of borders and the control thereof has something to say about the illicitness of those who make of themselves a commodity, by placing themselves in the shadows of the society against whom they trespass. (The trespass of those who hire them does nothing to eliminate the alien’s trespass against the society as a whole.)

    We Catholics seem satisfied with absurd notions that we (the USA) are responsible for the family situations of those who make themselves prisoners or fugitives in our land. To say so is to say that laws against and prison sentences for murder are unjust because of the family separation they impose.

  • I cannot imagine any Archbishop who is given the archdiocese of L.A.who will not work from what is organic. I do believe we are going to experience new wine. I read an article which stated Gomez like past Bishops of American Catholic immigrants also has a main concern to teach authentic Catholicism to the Hispanics. This is not unusual if you look at the Irish and Italian immigrants and their needs in past centuries. I read where he gave a talk on taking the Word of God out to the world and a Hispanic women approach him and said she would start a bible study. What a novel idea a Bishop through preaching converted a person from old ways to the new way.
    I was on the L.A. Times blog and boy the secular world is upset that attention is being given to Hispanics, our culture does need to be re-evangelized.

  • The pro-amnesty position of Cdl Mahony is NOT the “Church’s teaching” on immigration.

  • While I think one can make an open borders argument based on Catholic teaching, I didn’t make the argument nor did Benedict (perhaps Mahoney did; it wouldn’t surprise me). Without getting too deep into Church teaching on immigration (which would merit more research on my part & another post), my understanding is that the bishops’ problems with current US immigration policy is twofold

    1) That the US is unfairly limiting immigration. The US can support more immigration and take them in legally but is refusing to do so. While this can be interpreted as “open borders” it doesn’t have to be; only that the borders should be more wide open.

    2) That the US is committing an injustice by treating illegal immigrants like sub-human beings-allowing below minimum wage, denying health care, making citizenship difficult, etc. I think the current condition that the immigrant finds himself is the greater concern of the bishops as it shows a lack of respect for the dignity of the human person, which does not stop once once sets foot over the arbitrary imaginary line we call the US/Mexican border.

    Now, I don’t know nearly enough to say what the solution is, especially with the rightful balancing of a country’s need to secure its border and enforce its laws, other than deportation is not the answer (for ethical & financial reasons). But I don’t think it’s unfair to at a minimum point out that illegal immigrants are facing injustice and more effort should be spent finding solutions rather than on nativist rhetoric.

  • illegal immigrants are facing injustice

    They broke the law to enter the country. Naturally that doesn’t remotely justify treating them inhumanely (though I would strongly suggest that the actual treatment of illegal immigrants in this country is far from inhumane), but let’s not lose sight of what the real issue is, nor should we engage in baseless rhetoric about “nativist rhetoric” when those opposed to amnesty have far loftier and reasonable justifications for their position.

  • ” … the “Spirit of Vatican II” types are losing their foremost defender …”

    Hardly. The archbishop is a JPII man, and rather autocratic to boot.

    Spelling, spelling, spelling … sheesh.

  • I think if one argues that illegal immigrants should have their status legalized with the simple penalty of community service, then one in effect has open borders. Its a get out of jail card with no real penalty.

    I also think that if one considers it sub-human treatment to deny citizenship for one illegally here then there is no point in discussion. Emotion wins.

  • In my parish, St. John the Evangelist in Goshen, NY, the first major pedophile scandal materialized in the early nineties. The priest in question, “Father Ed” had been molesting boys in their early teens. To say that the parishioners were traumatized by this would be an understatement. They were devastated. Then something wondrous happened….

    Father Ed was eventually replaced by Father Trevor Nichols. Father Trevor had been an Anglican in merrie old England when he converted to Catholicism. On becoming a Catholic was transferred to Saint John’s – WITH HIS WIFE AND TWO DAUGHTERS! A married priest! WITH TWO KIDS!

    You want to hear the punch line? Our little parish did not implode. The sun did not fall from the sky. Huge cracks did not appear in the earth’s surface. In fact, it was nice having them. They were – and are to this day – deeply beloved by the people of St. John’s.

    Allowing priests to marry would transform the Catholic Church. Having Father Trevor, his wife Marian and their two lovely daughters in our midst certainly transformed the people of St. John’s.

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan

  • “Allowing priests to marry would transform the Catholic Church.”

    It certainly has done wonders for the Episcopal Church, assuming that the term wonder encompasses extinction.

  • Tom Degan,

    What does your proposal for disobeying Church discipline have to do with Archbishop Gomez moving to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles?

  • Todd,

    How many bishops are there at this point who weren’t selected by John Paul II? If that constitutes a disproof of being a “Spirit of Vatican II” type in your mind, then it’s already extinct. Whatever one wants to call Mahony, it must be admitted that he represents a type of diocesan leadership that conservative Catholics will be very glad to see go, in regards to liturgy, dealing with the scandals, politics, vocations, religious education, and a host of other issues. And whatever his other faults, progressive Catholics have often found themselves in his corner — as when he squared off against Mother Angelica. Of course, he’s not the darling that Archbishop Weakland was… But we know how that one worked out in the end.

    Tom,

    It’s certainly a good thing that your parish got a faithful new priest — and there are some very good priests who are converts from Anglicanism, some of whom are married. (Father Longnecker springs to mind.) However, one cannot really see that it was only because he was married that he proved to be a good priest for your parish. There are, of course, a great many celibate priests (some of them also converts from Anglicanism) who also do not molest teenage boys. The vast, vast majority, in fact. That yours happened to be married does not mean that the Church needs to change its general discipline in the Western Church.

  • Darwin, I don’t see things with an enemy-of-my-enemy mindset.

    Speaking as the liberal you know me to be, I find Cardinal Mahony’s leadership style distasteful, and this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) news to St Bloggers who have stalked me over the years. If you pressed me, I could probably name about a half-dozen things I dislike about the man’s legacy.

    My preference in bishops (a qualified hero) would be guys like Ken Untener and Michael Kenny, both of whom I’ve met and heard speak, not only for what they had to say, but more: how they lived their lives as bishops in witness to the gospel. But it’s probably little surprise I’m more of a sell-the-mansion, reach-out-to-the-poor kind of guy anyway.

    This liberal is happy that his kind of autocrat is leaving. I know Archbishop Gomez even less than I know the cardinal. He seems to be more energetic, and maybe he’s less of an autocrat. If so, good for LA. If not, I’ll probably be happy when he retires, too.

    Interesting that you should mention vocations, because two of the Right’s favorite punching bags over the years, Mahony and Trautmann, are both doing pretty well when it comes to clergy. Far from the bottom of the heap, as it were.

  • “So while conservatives rejoice at the sufferings the liberals must endure at the loss of their liturgical dancers, it would be wise to remember that Benedict wants some change from the right as well.”

    True. But I do think it is problematic that define support for immigration reform as just on the left and opposition to it just on the right. That does not seem to mirtor the actual poltial reality

  • The world not being a polarity, people are certainly not required to like those who are more on their end than not — but it can’t really be denied that much of Mahony’s influence especially in the last 15 years of his episcopacy has been much more towards the progressive side of the Catholic spectrum than otherwise.

    Also, franky, I’m perplexed as to how you can say that Mahony has been doing well as regards vocations. My native diocese (Los Angeles) has more than ten times as many Catholics as my adopted one (Austin) but a similar number of ordinations and seminarians. Plus, the most of vocations LA does manage are “imports” — that is, come to the diocese as seminarians but didn’t live there prior to entering seminary.

    That said, having met Cardinal Mahony on several occasions and heard him speak, I can assure you that he is in person a very nice guy. You would probably like him if you actually met him.

  • Todd,

    “St Bloggers who have stalked me over the years”

    And I suppose you never went around provoking people with your comments. No, you just tell the truth, and people get so mad that they have to stalk you. That it?

  • jh:

    Well, I think the right has deeper problems than the left on the issue. I don’t think you’re going to get much traction on a “Make them speak English” platform in a Democratic room while you’ll get some in a GOP room.

    That said, as the healthcare debate showed both sides have the concerns of the immigrant as very low priority so you’re right to point out that both have significant problems on this issue.

  • “He seems to be more energetic, and maybe he’s less of an autocrat.”

    When it comes to Church leadership, I’m not a fan of democracy.

  • MD,

    Don’t conflate politics with Catholicism.

    I volunteer and help the homeless and serve food to the hungry, but I am not a Democrat.

    Just sayin’!
    ;)

  • MD,

    Actually you ask most first generation immigrants and they want their children to learn English. Only so far you can get in a culture if you don’t speak the dominant language. Can’t carry bilingual education to the college level.

    Its compassionate liberals that will keep immigrants down by keeping them in a linguistic ghetto.

  • When it comes to Church leadership, I’m not a fan of democracy.

    You’re so right. Fascism makes for a better, tighter, more unified, ecclesiology.

  • “Speaking as the liberal you know me to be, I find Cardinal Mahony’s leadership style distasteful, and this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) news to St Bloggers who have stalked me over the years.”

    Stalked? Todd, you are the one who keeps showing up here in the comboxes.

  • Donald, there’s a significant and logical difference between my visiting your site and selectively posting on topics of interest, and your practice of responding to practically every one of my posts here. Though to be fair, you pretty much post anywhere you disagree with one of your visitors.

    You do have a colleague here who sees fit to mention my federal voting record, even on threads in which politics is not in the tag.

    That said, you’ve left alone my comments on Cardinal Mahony, so I’ll take that as evidence you mostly align with me in disliking the man, and perhaps even for not totally different reasons. On that point, I’ll conclude my remarks here and stalk…I mean visit another thread later.

  • You do have a colleague here who sees fit to mention my federal voting record, even on threads in which politics is not in the tag.

    When you claim to be a “Catholic” and yet vote for the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history, I have to bring that up so people understand that you’re just a Catholic-In-Name-Only.

    Hence innocent Catholic’s won’t be strayed from their faith because of your lies, innuendo’s, and false interpretations of Catholicism.

    We aim to evangelize Catholics here at TAC and will disallow you from misleading them.

  • Todd has become increasingly angry and bitter in the last couple years (and seems to take undue opportunity to needle conservative Catholics), and I think it shows very poor judgement (including moral judgement) to think that Obama was worthy of a vote in the last election, but I don’t think that it is correct or appropriate to label Todd a “Catholic-in-name-only” for that reason.

  • “Donald, there’s a significant and logical difference between my visiting your site and selectively posting on topics of interest, and your practice of responding to practically every one of my posts here.”

    When anyone posts in one of my threads Todd I will normally respond eventually, although time constraints and laziness on my part sometimes prevent me from doing so. Additionally if someone else in the thread has made the point I was going to make I normally don’t bother.

    “Though to be fair, you pretty much post anywhere you disagree with one of your visitors.”

    Not really, but a bit of hyperbole goes with commenting in comboxes. Usually I won’t post in other threads unless I have a strong interest in the topic or my name comes up.

    “On that point, I’ll conclude my remarks here and stalk…I mean visit another thread later.”

    Feel free to stalk…I mean visit here, as much as you wish. I agree with you on little, although we share a similar distaste of Cardinal Mahoney, but you conduct yourself within the bounds of blog decorum and I have no problem with your visits whatever our sparring, something we of course have been doing since the Welborn Open Book days. (How swiftly time passes!)

  • I agree with Darwin that I would not call Todd a Catholic In Name Only. Beyond a distaste for attempting to judge the sincerity of someone else’s religious committment, I do not think it accurate in his case. I might call him, because of his vote, a Pro-lifer In Name Only, but I do not know if Todd claims to be part of the pro-life movement.

  • How can a Catholic who know’s his faith vote for the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history?

  • Darwin and Don,

    Words matter and I believe that you two are correct. After sleeping on it I should not have labeled Todd as a “Catholic-In-Name-Only”.

    A much more precise label would have been more accurate, but not charitable to say the least.

    I won’t refer to him this way again.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • DRM,
    How exactly is it that one becomes a pro-lifer in name only without meriting at the same moment the appellation “Catholic in Name Only?”

    Pro-abortion baptised Christians come in only one flavor, regardless of the “denomination” they choose to attend services in; protestant.

  • Actually Kevin some of the most fervent pro-lifers I know are protestants. I have a personal distaste for passing on the religious committment of others, and I do not like going beyond what I think the evidence shows me.

  • Kevin:

    I think you mean that once you dissent from the Church’s teachings you cease to be Catholic and become a Protestant.

    That said, I think Donald was right to point out that the way you wrote it could be interpreted very negatively by our Protestant brethren who do a lot for the service of life.

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