The history scholar selected to be San Diego’s new Roman Catholic bishop by Pope Francis called for a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system in the United States while declaring that he intended to do his best to be a “friend” to Latinos in the community.
The comments were made by Monsignor Robert McElroy at a San Diego news conference just hours after his appointment was announced by the Vatican. “The border is a reminder to us of what we are called to do in our greatness as Americans and that we sometimes fall short of in how we deal with immigrants and how we must really confront the issues of immigration and resolve them with justice and have a comprehensive immigration reform that will do that,” the 61-year-old said.
McElroy, who is a native of California, has been a San Francisco auxiliary bishop for the last five years and will become San Diego’s sixth bishop at a St Therese of Carmel parish mass on April 15th. Cirilo Flores, the previous Bishop of San Diego, died last year of cancer.
McElroy added that Hispanics were the foundation of the church and also addressed the need to give support to Native Americans. He highlighted the importance of inclusiveness in the light of protests over the sainthood about to be given to Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Franciscan missionary who critics allege enslaved converts, destroyed native populations and spread disease as he created a Californian Catholic mission system.