Archbishop Gomez: “In God’s eyes, there are no foreigners”

Los Angeles archbishop used his homily at the 65th annual Red Mass to remind country’s legal professionals -- including five Supreme Court justices -- of U.S. tradition of welcoming immigrants

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez gives a blessing to a Mayan family from Guatemala during the presentation of the gifts at a June 18 Mass celebrated in recognition of all immigrants at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. (Credit: CNS photo/Victor Aleman, Angelus News.)

Archbishop José H. Gomez used his homily at the 65thannual Red Mass to remind the country’s legal professionals of America’s strong tradition of welcoming immigrants and promoting religious freedom for all.

“In God’s eyes, there are no foreigners, there are no strangers,” said Gomez. “All of us are family. When God looks at us, he sees beyond the color of our skin, or the countries where we come from, or the language that we speak. God sees only his children-sons and daughters made in his image.”

The Red Mass is celebrated each year for those working in law and government and dates back to approximately 1310 in England, following similar services in Paris.

The name of the mass is taken from the red vestments worn by the celebrant to signify the fire of the Holy Spirit.

The Red Mass is traditionally celebrated on the Sunday before the first Monday in October, which marks the beginning of the new Supreme Court term and is held at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in the nation’s capital.

In attendance were Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts. Breyer is Jewish, while the other justices are Catholic.

Five of the nine justices on the current court are Roman Catholic.

“America’s first beginnings were not political,” said Gomez. “America’s first beginnings were spiritual.”

“The missionaries came here first-long before the Pilgrims, long before George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Long before this country even had a name. These missionaries-together with the colonists and the statesmen who came later-they laid the spiritual and intellectual groundwork for a nation that remains unique in human history,” he said.

Gomez hails from Monterrey, Mexico and has been archbishop of Los Angeles since 2011. He leads one of the most ethnically diverse dioceses in the country.

“The Church in Los Angeles is the largest Catholic community in the country,” said Gomez.

“We are a global church, an immigrant church, made up of people who come from all over the world. We have about 5 million Catholics in L.A. and every day, we pray and worship and we serve in more than 40 different languages,” he said.

While Gomez praised America for being a place where all people have been historically welcome, he acknowledged that this is an ongoing challenge. In a nod to the current national tensions surrounding race relations, Gomez said the country has yet to live up to its own ideals.

“From the original sins of slavery and the cruel mistreatment of native peoples, to our struggles today with racism and nativism – the American dream is still a work in progress,” he said.

In recent years Gomez, who is the vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has become one of the leading voices on immigration in the American church hierarchy and often uses his major public addresses to make the Church’s case for welcoming immigrants.

“Let us commit ourselves to an America that cares for the young and the elderly, for the poor and the sick; an America where the hungry find bread and the homeless a place to live,” said Gomez.

“An America that welcomes the immigrant and refugee and offers the prisoner a second chance.”

Full story at Crux.

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  1. Why, again, the failure to distinguish between legal and illegal immigration? Nobody has a problem with people who want to immigrate to America to become Americans (i.e., assimilate into American culture) and who do so in respect of the country’s laws. Line jumpers are not welcome and should not be respected. Archbishop Gomez, you discredit yourself and the Church by failing to make the crucial distinction between legal and illegal immigration. As you continue to fail in that regard (I suspect deliberately), you will not be worth paying any attention to.

  2. Sean Brightly says:

    Why does the Archbishop tout over 40 languages being spoken in his archdiocese? As if that’s a good thing? Why isn’t everyone united in the English language? How does anything get done in such a small region where people can’t talk to each other because of language barriers? That can’t be a good thing for the local area.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Why do you tout the use of “Sean”? Maybe you should call yourself “John” ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps the good Archbishop, in his full Hispanic zeal, forgot the Scriptural lesson of the Tower of Babel: the multiplication of tongues such that no one could understand the other was intended by God as a CURSE!!! Or perhaps the Archbishop would adopt the view of his predecessor and wish the whole USA to become bi-lingual. Enough of this nonsense.

  3. Yes your Excellency you are correct, but in the eyes of this nations laws there is a distinction. That is what defines a nation, sorry if that offends liberals but that is the Truth.

  4. Oh come on. Many, if not most, people who speak a second language also speak good to fluent American English. Those who speak more than one language are preserving part of their heritage. America’s strength comes from its diversity. E pluribus unum. [Check a dollar bill].

    • Then why are voter ballots and driver license tests and booklets printed in a dozen or so languages in California? If everyone knows English, why not English only? Come on. E pluribus unum means one from many. (Check a translation.) Where is the unum? There is only a plures, and that is balkanizing our country.

  5. Matamoros says:

    Perhaps the Archbishop should spend a little of his time reading his Bible instead of spouting off with the latest leftist rhetoric. Nations, peoples, tribes, are evident therein, and in the Apocalypse we are told they will be there in the end.

  6. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    God does not distinguish between Americans and , as you say, non-Americans. In God’s eyes, we are brothers and sisters, all God’s children.

  7. The manner in which many of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic behave, and the things they say, certainly make it challenging for American church-going Catholics to remain faithful to Roman Catholicism. This is not the Church into which I, a grandchild of four legal immigrants, was born 74 years ago.

  8. Anonymous says:

    not long back cnn did a backgrounder on american bishops and palatial residences. i think it was inspired by pope francis’ move to smaller , more modest quarters. archbishop gomez placed number 1 at 26,000 plus square feet(although with 5 priests in residence). it would be such a sign to catholics and californians alike if a downsizing coupled with needy families needs for space could be the cnn follow-up story, it would not be easy, but it would provide a level of witness of actions following work, a solid solidarity

  9. Leroy Sheckelstein says:

    hey Gomez, if you don’t like it that America doesn’t welcome illegal, lawbreaking invaders, then why don’t you go back to Mexico, and make it a place people don’t want to flee from? The problem isn’t America, the most welcoming place in the world, it’s your corrupt home country.

  10. Juan Campos says:

    I think that Archibishop Gomez should read the Psalms again.

  11. Michael McDermott says:

    I don’t know if it was intentional, but the juxtaposition of the below article next in line to this piece, really struck a cord, producing a jarring note.
    Admittedly, many of the problems of a 3rd World country like Mexico stem from its proximity to the US; but Not All. Mexican Culture has long been extremely corrupt (aka La Mordida = The Bite), and viciously hostile to Immigrants from Central & South America, even if just trying to reach the US.

    Not all Mexicans show these attributes, but more than enough to cause Me to vow Never to Cross that International Border, and to support is as a necessary attribute of Nationhood for the US.
    Catholic youth volunteers beaten, raped and shot while delivering earthquake aid in…

  12. When the Church prevails upon government to use coercion in the name of “charity”, it is the gravest abuse of authority by both Church and State. God gave everyone free will for a reason. Right judgment is also a prudential quality which cannot be assumed to be inherent to clerics or politicians. That these two forces now presume to combine their power to override the God-given rights of individuals, is a very sure sign of a demonic influence.

  13. Gabriel Espinosa says:

    The Bishop is maligning our righteous laws and sovereignty by not distinguishing between legal immigrant and illegal alien. Therefore he should be ready and accepting of any righteous backlash he received for his malicious commentary, and malicious it is for it intends to undermine rule of law.

  14. A girl I know just loves the movie West Side Story. We always have a good laugh about how every time she watches she hopes against hope that Tony and Natalie – oops, I mean Maria – Somehow, Someway Find a New Way of Living (and Forgiving), Chino will misfire, Anita will get through at the Drugstore, etc. But, alas, it’s always Maria crying softly, “Te adoro, Anton.” Remember? Right after he croaks?

    I think Abp Gomez does the same thing reading and rereading the Tower of Babel story. He hopes against hope that after God confounds the people’s language, they stick it out, redouble their efforts on the Tower, and show God that diversity is their strength. But, alas.

  15. Anonymous 2 says:

    It is a wonder that the Archbishop Gomez does not acknowledge that the United States takes in on average over 1 million LEGAL immigrants every year, more than any other country on Earth and more than most combinations of several countries.

    So why do our dear US bishops love to crucify the US and its people?

    It is because there is an acceptable evil animus against this most generous and free, yes, still mostly capitalist country.

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