The following came in a Dec. 5 email from the Sacramento diocese.
Bishop Jaime Soto has been elected by his brother bishops to lead the California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the two archdioceses and 10 dioceses in California. Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy of San Francisco was elected vice president of the CCC, and Bishop Richard Garcia of Monterey was re-elected as treasurer.
Bishop Soto succeeds Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson of Los Angeles, and begins a three-year term as the CCC president.
“The Gospel’s message of the sacredness of life and the dignity of every human often goes unheard in the capital of California while increasing economic disparities and deteriorated social infrastructure underscore a lack of political will to serve the common good,” Bishop Soto said. “Pope Francis has recently reminded us to construct a new culture of encounter, ‘encuentro,’ that defies the prevailing culture of exclusion.’ There is no place for the elderly or for the unwanted child; there is no time for that poor person in the street.'” (Rio de Janeiro, July 27, 2013)
“Gathering together as a conference of bishops helps us address those inequities at the local and state level as well as provide teaching, resources and support to Catholics in California committed to justice,” he said.
Bishop Soto offered special thanks to the outgoing president: “On behalf of the entire conference of bishops, I would like to express our deep gratitude to Bishop Wilkerson for his outstanding leadership as president. His steady guidance and pastoral approach to complicated issues has kept the conference on target, improved its effectiveness and helped both the bishops and California Catholics to make faithful and wise decisions in California policy matters.”