A clerical member of the orthodox Catholic organization, Opus Dei, has been appointed as the next Archbishop of the diocese of Los Angeles. Pope Bendict XVI has named Archbishop Jose Gomez, formerly the Archbishop of San Antonio, as the new head of the scandal-ridden LA diocese.
Opus Dei has been seared into the American consciousness through the bestselling book, The Da Vinci Code, authored by Dan Brown, and the subsequent blockbuster film of the same name. Featured in both the book and the movie as an evil empire of Catholic fanatics intent on protecting its secrets at any cost, Opus Dei is in fact an organization of very devout men and women who dedicate their lives to the service of God and the Church. Certainly orthodox in its approach to Catholic doctrine and fiercely loyal to the Pope, some members practice self-flagellation as a way to mortify their earthly flesh.
Archbishop Gomez who is 58, joined Opus Dei in 1978. He will be taking over for the retiring Cardinal Roger Mahony. Cardinal Mahony presided over the multi-million dollar settlement to alleged victims of priestly sexual abuse within the LA diocese. One of Archbishop Gomez’s major tasks will be to reform the priesthood.
Archbishop Gomez is one of 22 bishops around the globe who are members of Opus Dei. Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by Saint Jose Maria Escriva, a Spanish priest.
With the almost systemic taint of priestly pedophilia creeping through the corridors of the Catholic Church, I find it interesting that within Opus Dei, the most devout, orthodox, and disciplined of groups within the Catholic hierarchy, none of its 2,000 priests have ever been involved in a sexual scandal.