The National Catholic Reporter (NCR), the independent Catholic news organization, named Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez as its Newsmaker of the Year in an editorial published Dec. 17, 2021.
NCR cites Gomez’s inability to unite the church, his support for efforts to deny Communion to pro-life politicians including President Joe Biden, and his dismissive comments toward social justice movements for fanning the flames of culture war.
“As head of the bishops’ conference for the past two years, Gomez has squandered his presidency fighting dead-end culture wars,” NCR writes. “The year was bookended by Gomez’s moves to attack Biden and a year-end speech denigrating social and racial justice movements that do the work of the gospel. In an organization whose history is peppered with failed leaders, it is hard to find one less accomplished.”
In a separate editorial, NCR held up the example of Catholic social and racial justice advocates as examples of the kind of leadership Gomez could learn from. NCR spotlighted the work of Sharon Lavigne, a Louisiana environmental activist, as well as union leaders and Catholics on the forefront of activism around immigration, the death penalty, racial injustice and police violence, climate change, and justice issues in our church for women, LGBTQ people and victims of sexual abuse and assault.
Last year, NCR selected then President-elect Joe Biden as its Newsmaker of the Year. Gomez is not the first newsmaker NCR has chosen for their negative impact. In 2018, the organization named disgraced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick as its top newsmaker, describing him as “one of the mightiest princes of the church… (who was) removed from ministry, stripped of his title, and sent off to a remote friary in the wake of credible accusations of sexual abuse of minors and inappropriate sexual activity with seminarians.”
Ordained in 1978 as a priest of the conservative Catholic movement Opus Dei, Gomez was named an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Denver by Pope John Paul II in 2001. Four years later he was made archbishop of San Antonio, again by John Paul, and finally archbishop of Los Angeles by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, after one year as coadjutor. Gomez has not been made a cardinal, which is unusual for the archbishop of Los Angeles.
The National Catholic Reporter is an independent Catholic news source. Founded in 1964, NCR provides news and commentary on issues related to the Catholic Church and the world. The publication can be read online at NCRonline.org, or by following @ncronline on Facebook and Twitter. For further information, please contact NCR Executive Editor Heidi Schlumpf or News Editor Joshua J. McElwee.
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