Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"The Hispanics Are Thrilled to Death"

That's the word from one leading LA op, surveying the local scene on the watershed appointment of the first Latin cleric ever to reach the Stateside church's topmost rank.

Aside from a greeting to the staff at his soon-to-be office, Archbishop Jose Gomez was reportedly slated to spend his afternoon driving around the City of Angels with Cardinal Roger Mahony to start getting the lay of the land.

When asked how well he knew his new turf at this morning's cathedral presser -- podium stationed, appropriately, smack in front of the cathedra he could hold for some two decades -- the 58 year-old heir apparent to the global church's sixth-largest diocese replied to the effect of, "You mean, how many hours have I been here?"

Several observers said they were especially struck by the contrast between Mahony's Spanish -- well-honed, fluid, but heavily-accented -- and Gomez's native-tongue ease.

Bottom line: for all the talk that might've preceded this day, it's become pretty clear that Rome couldn't have decided any way else.

That said, courtesy of the good folks on Wilshire, here are the statement videos -- first the cardinal-archbishop...

...and a very emotional coadjutor-designate:

Long day, sure... but something as huge as this doesn't come all that often.

Even more still to come... as always, stay tuned.

Al Seib/Los Angeles Times