By some estimates, 40 to 45 percent of Catholics in the United States are Latino, including more than 60 percent of Catholics under the age of 18. How many U.S. cardinals are Latino? Zero.
Some U.S. Catholics are calling that disparity to mind after Pope Francis named 13 new cardinals on Sunday. Among those named is Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., who will become the first Black cardinal in U.S. history.
“It is so good that the pope will have this close advisor who knows the Black Catholic experience,” said Hosffman Ospino, an associate professor of Hispanic ministry and religious education at Boston College. He said the church should be celebrating someone who comes from the margins. Archbishop Gregory, Mr. Ospino added, has also developed a profound relationship with the Latinos he has served, especially in Atlanta.
Now, with Archbishop Gregory, Pope Francis has elevated four U.S. cardinals: including Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago; Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the prefect of the dicastery for Laity, Family and Life; and Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, N.J.
Still, while not wanting to take anything away from the gift of these cardinals, why are we still waiting for the first Latin American pope to name a Latino cardinal in the United States?
There are 27 active Latino bishops in the United States.
|Last year, John Allen wrote at Crux that naming Archbishop Gomez a cardinal could be seen as “a nod to the burgeoning Hispanic wing of the U.S. Church, as well as a way of putting an exclamation point on Gomez’s passionate advocacy for immigrant rights….”
It is impossible to list all of the Latino bishops in the United States and their accomplishments, but Archbishop Nelson Pérez of Philadelphia is certainly one that comes to mind. The son of Cuban exiles leads an archdiocese that, until 2011, was led by a cardinal. Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio, Tex., is another national leader who, like Archbishop Pérez, played a role in the V Encuentro. He spoke out forcefully against the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy. Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, who led the California Catholic Conference for six years, is yet another Latino leader.
Full story at America Magazine.