Tuesday, January 9, 2007

One is Some- Counting with the S.L. Trib

I was a bit distressed that the Salt Lake Tribune tried to manufacture a story out of whole cloth regarding the appointment by the Holy Father of Bishop John C. Wester as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. I am not referring to Peggy Fletcher Stack's front page article, which was quite good, given the short time she had to put it together, which included words from a few of Bishop Wester's colleagues in San Francisco, including Archbishop Niederauer, and some good bits from his press conference yesterday. The article I found disheartening is the one by Jessica Ravitz on A6 in the print edition, entitled New Bishop: Some wonder why a Latino wasn't picked.

The reason the title is odd is the article's content. According to Ravitz, the only person wondering why, or complaining that our new bishop is not a Latino, is William Gonzalez, emeritus Spanish professor at the University of Utah, with whom I have had a few run-ins. Professor Gonzalez, a very smart and gifted man in most respects, is, sadly, a longtime Catholic malcontent and gadfly. My question for Ms. Ravitz is, since when is one some? I was alerted last evening to this attempt to frame the story from this non-existent, fourth dimension angle. It may have something to do with the Tribune's article last Fall about possible successors to Bishop Niederauer. In that article only Hispanic candidates were mentioned, namely Bishop Jaime Soto, auxilary of Orange, California, Bishop Gabino Zavala, auxilary of Los Angeles, and Richard Garcia, who was auxilary in Sacramento, but has since been named bishop of Moneterey, California. Now, do not misunderstand what I am writing, any of these three outstanding men would have made great bishops of our fair diocese. Besides, I have little doubt that there are big things in store for Bishop Soto, especially given his recent national exposure during which he has done nothing but further distinguish himself.

The other three Latino leaders interviewed for Ravitz's article, Jorge Arce-Larreta, vice president of the Utah Coalition of La Raza, Fr. Omar Ontiveros, Parochial Vicar of The Cathedral of the Madeleine, and, as such, is an associate of mine, and Andrew Gallegos, founder of Centro de la Familia de Utah, all three of whom are actively engaged on a day-to-day basis with Utah's Catholic Latino community, have a favorable impression of Bishop Wester and, even according Ravitz, are looking forward to his installation. She also completely overlooks the fact that, being from San Francisco, Bishop Wester has vast experience in dealing with diversity, including a large Latino population. Ravitz also neglects to mention that Wester has been deeply involved in issues of immigration, being chairman-elect of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration. The article is illogical because the reporter does not draw accurate conclusions from her own reportage.

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