In the U.S., he said, "there is a growing coldness of heart, a harsh and fearful rhetoric in our media and politics, a growing inability of ordinary people to empathize with the humanity of others."
He noted the cruel treatment of refugees and undocumented migrants, debates over social programs for the poor and the homeless, and severe punishments and poor conditions for criminals.
Archbishop Gómez suggested secularization and de-Christianization are the dominant realities in the Americas and throughout the West. Wondering whether the Church has come to terms with these threats to Christian institutions and souls, he said they are the "great test" for the Church.
"I speak from my perspective in the United States. But I think all of us can agree that the elites who govern and shape the direction of our societies are deeply secularized and hostile to religion, religious values and traditional culture," he said.
Where there is no violent persecution, elites use the "raw power of law and public policy" to impose their views and to deny freedoms of those who disagree with them.
The archbishop said Catholicism faces "a powerful and false 'humanism'" that purports to describe human happiness and flourishing under hedonistic, materialistic assumptions, adding that these assumptions are "completely opposed" to revealed truths of Christianity.
The witness of works of mercy is even more important in a society that denies the reality of God and the relevance of faith.
"In a post-Christian society, mercy – lived through works of love – becomes the best 'proof' for God's presence and power," he said. "By our love and tenderness, by our joy, we attract others to the cause of our joy, to the person of Jesus Christ. By our love and tenderness, we make God's own mercy a reality that our neighbors can believe in and give their lives to."
Archbishop Gómez cited the example of St. Junipero Serra as a true missionary of mercy.
"Like the first missionaries to this continent, we need to proclaim the beautiful reality of God's compassion and tenderness," he said. "The glad tidings of God's complete mercy and love - and his desire that everyone might find the salvation he wants for us."