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…
…There are 27 active Latino bishops in the United States. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is perhaps the most prominent. (I used to work for Archbishop Gomez as editor in chief of Angelus News and Vida Nueva.)
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.”
“Not only is there a huge portion of the church that is Latino, but for at least the last 15 years, many key leadership positions have been held by Latinos,” said Andrew Rivas, the executive director of the California Catholic Conference.
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.
Mr. Ospino thought Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Tex., would be an interesting choice. While he does not occupy a traditional cardinal seat, a consideration that does not seem to influence Pope Francis in his cardinal appointments, Bishop Flores does lead a diocese on the U.S.-Mexico border. “It could be seen as an affirmation of one of the poorest dioceses in the United States,” Mr. Ospino said.
“It would be a huge feeling of recognition for the Latino community for one of these bishops to be named a cardinal,” Mr. Rivas said. “Afterall, cardinals get to vote for a pope.”