.- Following a bland introductory story and a somewhat hostile column, the Los Angeles Times has published a positive story about how Archbishop Jose Gomezâs appointment as coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles has made area Latinos proud and optimistic, given that one of their own will head the archdiocese.
A Wednesday story in the Los Angeles Times discussed reaction among Los Angelinos at the predominantly immigrant parish of St. Michaelâs Catholic Church in the south of the metropolis. Describing the parish as âabuzzâ at the archbishopâs appointment, the article noted âa pervasive sense of pride, even elation, greeted the news that a compatriot would become the heir apparent.â
Juan Bramusco, a 60-year-old parishioner originally from Mexico, told the Times about Archbishop Gomezâs appointment: "Of course it makes you feel good. He's one of us; he understands us."
The âdelightedâ pastor of St. Michaelâs, Msgr. David OâConnell, said the appointment was a recognition of the numbers of Latinos in the archdiocese.
Parishioner and construction worker Humberto Magallanes, 29, said that the incoming Archbishop had âbig shoes to fillâ because outgoing Archbishop Cardinal Roger Mahony has âfought for immigrants as much as anyone.â
Archbishop Gomezâs introductory message about the priority he places on championing immigrants âcame through loud and clearâ among immigrant Catholics, the Times reported.
For his part, Msgr. OâConnell noted a contrast between what is happening in Latino parishes and what is happening in the Church at large.
Because of scandals, he said, âthe Church is having a difficult time. But at the parish level we are experiencing this whole new vitality and energy."
The Los Angeles Timesâ first story on Archbishop Gomezâs appointment, published April 6, claimed that he has âraised eyebrows in the pastâ because of his affiliation with Opus Dei, which it said had been accused of âcult-like secrecy.â It also cited the prelatureâs notorious âsinister roleâ from the fictional book and movie âThe Da Vinci Code.â
The Times also cited press releases from sexual abuse victimsâ groups critical of the archbishop.
Times columnist Steve Lopez in an April 7 column claimed he and Archbishop Gomez would start with a âclean slate,â but quickly launched into sexual abuse allegations. He proposed âa little quizâ about how the incoming archbishop would handle abusive priests and abusive allegations and voiced criticism of Cardinal Mahonyâs response.
The columnist also asked about the archbishopâs âhistory with Opus Deiâ and suggested that the ancient Christian practice of mortification of the flesh might be a cause of sexual abuse.