Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Archidioecesis Angelorum in California
Country United States of America
Territory Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties
Ecclesiastical province Los Angeles
Metropolitan Los Angeles, California
Area 22,685 km2 (8,759 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2009)
4,603,000 (39.7%)
Parishes 287
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established 1 June 1922
(As Diocese of Los Angeles-San Diego)
11 July 1936
(As Archdiocese of Los Angeles)
Cathedral Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Patron saint Saint Vibiana
Secular priests 590
Current leadership
Pope Benedict XVI
Archbishop José Gómez
Auxiliary Bishop
Emeritus Bishops
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles (Latin: Archidioecesis Angelorum in California) is an archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. state of California. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the archdiocese comprises the California counties of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura. The diocesan cathedral is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, and its present archbishop is José Horacio Gómez. With approximately five million professing members, the archdiocese considers itself the largest diocese in the United States in terms of congregant population.

The Archbishop of Los Angeles also serves as metropolitan bishop of the suffragan dioceses within the Ecclesiastical Province of Los Angeles, which includes the Dioceses of Fresno, Monterey, Orange, San Bernardino, and San Diego.

The see was created when the Diocese of Monterey was renamed to become the conjoined Diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles on July 7, 1859. It split to become the Diocese of Monterey-Fresno and the Diocese of Los Angeles-San Diego on June 1, 1922. With the exponential growth of the Roman Catholic population in the region, another split was promulgated on July 11, 1936 creating the Diocese of San Diego and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. On March 24, 1976, the Diocese of Orange was created from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the present area of the archdiocese was established.



The archdiocese is led by the archbishop, who governs from the mother church, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The cathedral was dedicated on September 2, 2002, and replaced the former Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

The Archbishop of Los Angeles is the metropolitan of the Province of Los Angeles of the Roman Catholic Church. Its suffragans are the dioceses of Fresno, Monterey in California, Orange in California, San Bernardino, and San Diego. Metropolitan archbishops historically wielded great administrative powers over the suffragan dioceses. Today, such power is only ceremonial and kept as a tradition.

José Gómez is the current Archbishop of Los Angeles, having automatically succeeded his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony who served for 25 years, upon the latter's retirement which took effect on March 1, 2011.[1] Previously, Gómez served as Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on April 6, 2010.[2][3][4] He previously served as Archbishop of San Antonio from 2004 to 2010, and as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Denver from 2001 to 2004.[5] He is an ordained priest of Opus Dei.[6][7]

Archbishop Gómez is assisted by six Auxiliary Bishops: Gabino Zavala, Thomas John Curry, Gerald Eugene Wilkerson, Edward W. Clark, Oscar A. Solis, and Alexander Salazar. In addition, Joseph Martin Sartoris is a retired auxiliary bishop still living and residing within the archdiocese. Gordon Bennett, S.J., Bishop Emeritus of Mandeville, Jamaica, also resides within the archdiocese, as the Peter Faber, S.J. Fellow in Pastoral Theology and Ignatian Spirituality at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.



Bishop of Two Californias

  1. Francisco Garcia Diego y Moreno, O.F.M. (1840–1846)

Bishop of Monterey

  1. Joseph Alemany, O.P., (1850–1853)

Bishops of Monterey-Los Angeles

  1. Thaddeus Amat y Brusi, C.M. (1853–1878)
  2. Francisco Mora y Borrell (1878–1896)
  3. George Thomas Montgomery (1896–1902)
  4. Thomas James Conaty (1903–1915)
  5. John Joseph Cantwell (1917–1922)

Bishops of Los Angeles-San Diego

  1. John Joseph Cantwell (1922–1936)

Archbishops of Los Angeles

  1. John Joseph Cantwell (1936–1947)
  2. James Francis Cardinal McIntyre (1948–1970)
  3. Timothy Cardinal Manning (1970–1985)
  4. Roger Cardinal Mahony (1985–2011)
  5. José Horacio Gómez (2011—present)

Auxiliary bishops



Pastoral regions

Due to its large geographical size and Catholic population, in 1986 Archbishop Roger Mahony subdivided the archdiocese into five administrative subdivisions called pastoral regions. Each region is headed by an auxiliary bishop who functions as the region's episcopal vicar. The five regions are:


There are 5 colleges and over 50 high schools within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Many churches have affiliated primary schools as well.


The archdiocese's Office of Religious Education produces the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the largest annual event of its kind in the United States, with an attendance of approximately 38,000.

Holy Days of Obligation

As directed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy and the Ecclesiastical Province of Los Angeles, the archdiocese annually observes four Holy Days of Obligation. The Roman Catholic Church currently recognizes ten holy days, established in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. However, the USCCB has reduced that number to 6 for Latin Rite dioceses in the United States. As of January 1, 1993, no provinces in the United States celebrate the solemnities of Epiphany, Corpus Christi, Saint Joseph, or the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul.[8] The Province of Los Angeles, which includes the L.A. Archdiocese, further modified the list and currently celebrates 4 holy days of obligation on the day prescribed by canon law. The solemnity of the Ascension is moved from Thursday of the sixth week of Easter to the seventh Sunday of Easter. The province does not celebrate the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God as a holy day.[9] Though this move was not approved by the proper channels, namely the Episcopal Conference with approval of Rome.

  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15
    • Exception: If August 15 falls on a Saturday or Monday, there is no obligation to attend Mass.
  • All Saints, November 1
    • Exception: If November 1 falls on a Saturday or Monday, there is no obligation to attend Mass.
  • Immaculate Conception, December 8
    • Exception: If December 8 falls on a Sunday, the solemnity is transferred to the following Monday and there is no obligation to attend Mass.
  • Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, December 25

Sex abuse cases

The archdiocese agreed to pay out 500 million dollars to settle 45 lawsuits it still faces over two other pending cases of sexual abuse. According to the Associated Press a total of 22 priests were involved in the settlement with cases going as far back as the 1930s.[10] 20 million dollars of this was paid by the insurers of the archdiocese. The main administrative office of the archdiocese is due to be sold to cover the cost of these and future law suits. The archdiocese will settle about 500 cases for about $2 million.[11]

The 2006 documentary Deliver Us From Evil is based on accusations that the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahony, knew that Oliver O'Grady, a priest who sexually abused children, including a 9-month-old baby, in a string of Central California towns for 20 years, was a sexual abuser but failed to keep him away from children. In 1984, a Stockton police investigation into sexual abuse allegations against O'Grady was reportedly closed after diocesan officials promised to remove the priest from any contact with children. Instead, he was reassigned to a parish about 50 miles east, in San Andreas, where he continued to molest children. Not long after, Mahony was promoted to archbishop of Los Angeles, the largest Catholic diocese in the country. In Deliver Us From Evil, O'Grady says Mahony was "very supportive and very compassionate and that another situation had been smoothly handled". Mahony denies knowing that O’Grady was a child molester.[12]

In this regard, on August 24, 2007, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Louise DeCarl Adler ruled for immediate jury trials for 42 sex-abuse lawsuits against the Diocese of San Diego duly filed by 150 litigants, who alleged sexual crimes by priests to children. The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego offered about $4 million to settle the claims but plaintiffs' counsels demanded 10% of a million. With over four million Catholics and several holdings, the archdiocese is the largest and wealthiest of the five United States dioceses which have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the shadow of civil claims over sexual abuse. The Los Angeles archdiocese settled 508 cases for $2 million in July, 2007, while the Orange County, California diocese settled 90 claims for $.2 million in 2004.[13]

Rita Milla, an American citizen who was sexually abused by 7 priests was paid a $500,000 settlement on December 4, 2007, from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, America's largest, in her 23-year legal fight. Milla, 46, was one of the plaintiffs in a $660-million-dollar global settlement paid by the diocese reached for past abuse victims of molestation by priests. At 16, she was first abused by Fr. Santiago at Los Angeles and the Roman Catholic Church's failure to help here caused her loss of faith: "It felt like God hanging up the phone on me. I'll never escape the memories and I'll always be fighting the after effects of the trauma I went through, but now I can work on healing." She sued the church in 1984, and Tamayo apologized to her in 1991. Tamayo, who died in 1999, was paid to remain in the Philippines.[14]

On January 22, 2008, Tod Tamberg announced that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles had sold its 12-story Archdiocesan Catholic Center on Wilshire Boulevard to Jamison Properties (David Lee, President) of Los Angeles for $31 million to help pay the $660 million 2007 settlement on sex abuse by clergy. It was donated in 1995 by Thrifty PayLess.[15]

Province of Los Angeles

See: List of the Catholic bishops of the United States

See also


  1. ^ "Cardinal Mahony Retires" Retrieved: 2011-02-27.
  2. ^ "Pope Names San Antonio Archbishop José Gomez Coadjutor Archbishop Of Los Angeles". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2010-04-06. 
  3. ^ "POPE APPOINTS COADJUTOR ARCHBISHOP FOR LOS ANGELES". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. 2010-04-02. 
  4. ^ Press Office of the Holy See
  5. ^ "Archbishop José Horacio Gómez". 
  6. ^ "Bishop Jose H. Gomez named Archbishop of San Antonio". Opus Dei. 2004-12-29. 
  7. ^ Allen, Jr., John L. (2010-04-09). "Four points to make about Gomez and L.A.". National Catholic Reporter. 
  8. ^ "USCCB Holy Days of Obligation". Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  9. ^ "Archdiocese of Los Angeles Holy Days of Obligation". Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  10. ^ LA diocese settles abuse claims 1 December 2006
  11. ^ LA church to pay .10 M for clergy abuse July 14, 2007
  12. ^ A former priest molested kids in California parishes. Now he talks in a chilling documentary October 25, 2006
  13. ^ Guardian Unlimited, Church Abuse Trial Ordered in San Diego
  14. ^, Legal battle finally ends for victim of priest abuse
  15. ^, LA Archdiocese Offices Sold for $31M

External links

Coordinates: 34°03′39″N 118°17′54″W / 34.06083°N 118.29833°W / 34.06083; -118.29833

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