Pope Sends Message to US Bishops With Appointment of San Diego’s Bishop Robert McElroy as a Member of the College of Cardinals

The Pillar, JD Flynn: Papal advisor Fr. Antonio Spadaro said Sunday morning that the pope’s appointment of San Diego’s Bishop Robert McElroy as a member of the College of Cardinals is “a strong and clear message for the Church in the United States.”

The appointment came as a surprise, apparently even to McElroy, who said in a May 29 statement that he was “stunned” by the papal nod.

Indeed, the cardinal-elect is not the metropolitan of a major archiepiscopal see, nor the prefect of a Vatican dicastery. Francis has previously appointed as cardinals the bishops of smaller sees, but every U.S. bishop to whom he has previously given a red hat has been an archbishop.

And given that a growing number of American Catholics are Hispanic, many Vatican-watchers expected the next U.S. cardinal would also be Latino, even if it was not Los Angeles’ Archbishop Jose Gomez, whom the pope has now passed over several times. Report is here.