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Some wonder if José Gomez will make L.A. archdiocese more conservative

February 13, 2011 | 11:15 am


Roman Catholic Archbishop José Gomez has been on a listening tour across Southern California as he prepares to take over leadership of the L.A. archdiocese.

Times religion writer Mitchell Landsberg talked to Gomez about his meetings, where some parishners have asked him about plans to make what is considered a progressive archdiocese more conservative:

Since he arrived in Southern California last May, the archbishop has put thousands of miles on the Ford Taurus he brought with him from San Antonio. He has crisscrossed the region, seemingly determined to meet every one of the 4 million to 5 million Catholics who make the Archdiocese of Los Angeles the most populous in the United States — more than six times the size of the one he left.

Gomez has been learning his new turf, which encompasses Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. In a sense, he has also been trying to sell himself to his parishioners and priests. Some of them were wary of his history as a member of Opus Dei, a controversial Catholic organization with a reputation for extreme orthodoxy.

Gomez appears largely to have calmed fears that he might be too conservative for an archdiocese like Los Angeles, which, under Cardinal Roger Mahony, has gained a reputation as one of the most progressive in the Roman Catholic Church.

Photo: Archbishop José Gomez is set to become head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Feb. 27. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times