VATICAN CITY (AP) - The pope has selected Archbishop Jose Gomez
of San Antonio to take over the Los Angeles archdiocese when Cardinal Roger Mahony retires.
The appointment of the 58-year-old Gomez on Tuesday as coadjutor for Los Angeles puts him in line to become the highest-ranking Latino in the American Catholic hierarchy.
Mahony, the longest-serving U.S. cardinal since the Second Vatican Council, turns 75 next February. Under church rules, bishops must resign at age 75.
Pope Benedict XVI can decide whether to keep him on the job longer. But the appointment of Gomez as coadjutor in the nation's largest diocese indicates Benedict wants a smooth transition to a new leader.
In 2007, Mahony agreed to a record-setting $660 million settlement with more than 500 alleged victims of clergy abuse.