Archbishop Gomez: 'creative conservative'

Archbishop Gomez: 'creative conservative'

Giacomo Galeazzi

"Creative Conservative" is a term coined in the United States. It represents a new generation of bishops, termed conservative because they are loyal to the doctrine of the Church, but at the same time creative and capable of inserting this doctrine in modernity without treachery, without backing down.

It is the teaching that Benedict XVI wants his bishops to put into practice: not to close up full of excuses when faced with the challenges of modernity, but to open up courageously and with faith to 2,000 years of teaching of the Church itself.

"A conservative bishop for Los Angeles", was the headline in US newspapers in April 2010 when Msgr José H. Gomez was designated as successor to the "liberal" Cardinal Roger Mahony.

Msgr Gomez is one of the more noteworthy of the "creative conservative" prelates Benedict XVI has been appointing to dioceses in the five continents.

In 2007, CNN pointed him out as one of the most prominent Hispanics during the "Month of Hispanic Tradition," and among other roles, he is a founding member of the Catholic Latin American Leaders (C.A.L.L). Leader of Hispanic American Catholics he owes much to the period when he worked as assistant to the Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput, who worked as his "sponsor" in Rome.

Archbishop Gomez believes we should not underestimate the drive and impetus that immigrants can give to a nation and to the Church. More than two-thirds of Latinos in the United States (68%) are Catholic. According to the Archbishop: "Hispanics and Latin Americans are people of faith with deep cultural traditions based on the fundamentals of the faith, which is new in the Church of the United States."

On bioethical issues Archbishop Gomez is a fierce opponent of the Obama administration's decision to force all US hospitals, including Catholic ones, to include (starting next year) contraceptives and abortive products in their health programs.

Archbishop Gomez has publicly called for a general outcry against the new regulations with which the White House, according to the US episcopate, "violates non-negotiable principles." According to the Archbishop, America is losing its sense of religious freedom.

In the magazine First Things he noted that both courts and government agencies are increasingly neglecting the rights of conscience, in favour of other rights and liberties considered more important.

Extracts from report by "Vatican Insider" Giacomo Galeazzi.

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