The announcement that Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio has been appointed co-adjutor archbishop for Los Angeles and successor to Cardinal Mahony leaves the mainstream media very confused.
The media is alternately ecstatic and apoplectic over Pope Benedict’s choice for the city of Angels. Several news outlets, notably the LA Times, have already written several articles about what to expect from Archbishop Gomez and have even tried to send thinly-veiled warnings. But in most of the coverage, the media makes the same mistake that it always makes when it tries to cover religion like politics. They attempt to view all matters through the lens of politics and feel compelled to attempt to classify everything in terms of the modern political definitions of ‘progressive’ or ‘conservative.’
Trying to do this with Archbishop Gomez has left their collective heads spinning.
Archbishop Gomez is a Mexican-born hispanic. Hooray!
Archbishop Gomez is a full member of Opus Dei. Gasp!?!
Archbishop Gomez is a staunch defender of immigrants. Hooray, he is a progressive!
Archbishop Gomez is a staunch defender of life. (He even denounced a Catholic university when it invited Hillary Clinton.) Horror, he is a conservative!
Archbishop Gomez has a history of dedication to the poor. Progressive!
Archbishop Gomez is vocally opposed to homosexual marriage. Conservative!
I could go on. They are perplexed. How can a Bishop be ‘orthodox’—which in the mind of the media means ‘conservative’ and uncaring—and still dedicated to the poor and the defenseless?
A one word answer: Catholic. What the media consistently does not get is that ‘orthodoxy’ in a truly Catholic sense entails love for all the teachings of Jesus, as handed down through the Church including the command to love.
Archbishop Gomez loves the Church, the poor, the homosexual, the immigrant, and the unborn all at the same time. He is Catholic.
So when the media reports on the Church, they should take off the politically-colored glasses of red and blue and remember one thing. It’s the love, stupid.