Belief Beat

Pope Benedict has named Archbishop Jose Gomez, 58, of San Antonio, Texas, to the position of coadjutor for Los Angeles, which puts him next in line to become the diocese’s cardinal — becoming America’s first Latino cardinal.

Gomez, who was born in Mexico, is an archbishop of Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic movement that most people recognize from “The Da Vinci Code.” (Officials have stated that Dan Brown’s book and movie depict Opus Dei inaccurately.)

Catholic News Agency reports that Archbishop Gomez will lead 4,329,267 Catholics (as of 2005), 530 diocesan priests, 640 religious priests, and 1,710 religious sisters in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is unhappy with the appointment, describing Gomez as “a bishop with a troubling record of recent secrecy and risk regarding child safety. If the Pope is trying to convince us he’s ‘tough’ on abuse, he’s shooting himself in the foot by elevating Gomez.” The victims advocacy group says Gomez allowed two accused priests to be quietly transferred into the San Antonio diocese in recent years. No word yet on the Vatican’s response, if any.

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