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US bishops elect Archbishop Gomez as conference president

November 12, 2019

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles has been elected president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Archbishop Gomez—the first Hispanic prelate to head the USCCB—easily topped the balloting at the USCCB meeting in Baltimore on November 12. He will serve a three-year term, succeeding Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston/Houston.

The election of Archbishop Gomez was expected. He had served a three-year term as vice-president of the bishops’ conference, and the USCCB membership has traditionally chosen the incumbent vice-president to become the next president.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit was elected, in a closer ballot, to be the vice-president of the conference and thus heir apparent to the presidential role. After several candidates divided the votes on a first ballot, causing a run-off between the top vote-getters, Archbishop Vigneron outdistanced Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who heads the archdiocese for the military, by 151 to 90 votes.

Archbishop Gomez, the new president of the USCCB, has won a reputation as a vocal defender of the rights of immigrants. Born in Mexico, he became a US citizen in 1995.

Ordained to the priesthood in the prelature of Opus Dei in 1978, he was named auxiliary bishop of Denver in 2001. He became Archbishop of San Antonio, Texas, in 2004, then coadjutor archbishop of Los Angeles in 2010. With the resignation of Cardinal Roger Mahony the following year, he assumed the post of Archbishop of Los Angeles. For the past 66 years, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, the most populous Catholic see in the US, has always received a cardinal’s red hat—an honor that has not yet been conferred on Archbishop Gomez.

 


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