Jaime Soto

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Jaime Soto
Bishop of Sacramento
Bishop Jaime Soto with a Knight of Columbus after rededicating St. Joseph School on March 19, 2008.JPG
Bishop Jaime Soto with a Knight of Columbus after rededicating St. Joseph School on March 19, 2008.
ChurchRoman Catholic
ArchdioceseSan Francisco
AppointedOctober 11, 2007
InstalledNovember 29, 2008
PredecessorWilliam Weigand
OrdinationJune 12, 1982
ConsecrationMay 31, 2000
by Tod Brown, Michael Patrick Driscoll, and Norman Francis McFarland
Personal details
Born (1955-12-31) December 31, 1955 (age 63)
Inglewood, California
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous postAuxiliary Bishop of Orange
Styles of
Jaime Soto
Coat of arms of Jaime Soto.svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

Jaime Soto (born December 31, 1955) is the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.

Early life and education[edit]

Jaime Soto was born at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Inglewood, California. He is the eldest of seven children of a Mexican family.[1][2] His father, Oscar, was a telephone company engineer. In 1956, his family moved to Stanton, where he attended St. Polycarp School as a child. He also played Mass in his backyard with his siblings, knowing he wanted to be a priest as early as second grade.[3] Soto graduated from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana in 1974[4] and he entered St. John's Seminary College in Camarillo. There Soto obtained his Bachelor's degree in Philosophy in 1978, and his Master's in Divinity in 1982.


Soto was ordained to the priesthood on June 12, 1982. He first served as associate pastor of St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, until July 1984. Soto completed additional studies at Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City, graduating in May 1986 with a Master's in Social Work. He was named Associate Director of Catholic Charities of Orange in July after returning to California. He was appointed as Director of the Immigration and Citizenship Services within Catholic Charities in December. Soto was involved with the implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 as well.

He became Episcopal Vicar for the Hispanic Community in Orange on March 3, 1989, and was raised to the rank of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness in 1990. In addition to his work with the Hispanic community, Soto was made diocesan Vicar for Charities on March 1, 1999.


Diocese of Orange[edit]

On March 23, 2000, Soto was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Orange and Titular Bishop of Segia by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following May 31 from Bishop Tod Brown, with Bishops Michael Driscoll and Norman Francis McFarland serving as co-consecrators.

On June 11, 2003, Soto was a principal co-consecrator of his diocese's Auxiliary Bishop Dominic Mai Luong.[5]

Soto attended World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany, during which he and nine other American bishops led catechetical sessions.[6]

Diocese of Sacramento[edit]

Soto was later named Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento on October 11, 2007, being installed on November 19 of that same year in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. He became the Ordinary of Sacramento on November 30, 2008 upon the retirement of his predecessor Bishop William Weigand.

Upon appointment, Soto became the 25th Hispanic bishop in the United States. Soto believes that the Catholic Church in America is in a "dire need" for a greater number of Spanish-speaking clergy.[2] He adds that Latinos should step up and play a bigger role in church ministries and take on more responsibilities. "I encourage them to be greater protaganistas," says Soto, who learned Spanish as an adult. "I want them to have a sense of ownership of their church." His self-proclaimed greatest achievements have been counseling Hispanics diagnosed with AIDS, leading monthly services for inmates at the Orange County Jail, and promoting such Hispanic rituals and events as the Procession of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Day of the Dead.[7]

Soto has officially endorsed the Sacramento Helpers of God's Precious Infants and led prayer vigils for right to life on the sidewalks of local abortion facilities. This has invigorated and strengthened the pro-life community within his diocese.

USCCB committee positions[edit]

Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Soto is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, a member of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, and a consultant to the Committee on International Justice and Peace. He is also the chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).[8]

On November 17, 2010, Soto was appointed the head of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, a USCCB agency. The CCHD has been under intense pressure after allegations that the organization has funded numerous groups advocating the right to abortion and contraception, same-sex marriage, and other activities against Catholic Church doctrine. These reports led a coalition of conservative and pro-life groups to launch a boycott of the national collection, and at least ten bishops chose to cease contributing to the national pot. [9][10] Soto's appointment came one day after Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York was appointed president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Positions on issues[edit]

Bishop Soto is seen as conservative in matters of morals. Soto has taken a very public position against abortion, regularly leading prayer processions to abortion facilities. In January 2010, Soto organized a day of penance on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to offer reparation for “the sinful national scourge of abortion.”[11]

Soto is seen as a defender of "conservative" Catholic values. In 2008, Soto spoke at a conference for the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries, saying that the "homosexual lifestyle" is sinful. Soto stated: "Sexual relations between people of the same sex can be alluring for homosexuals but it deviates from the true meaning of the act and distracts them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all. For this reason, it is sinful." In the same speech, Soto spoke against premarital sex stating: "Sexual intercourse, outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman, can be alluring and intoxicating but it will not lead to that liberating journey of true self-discovery and an authentic discovery of God. For that reason, it is sinful."[12] Soto has lamented that contraception has become “the unquestioned default mode of marriage.”[9][13]

Bishop Soto has been a strong defender of immigrant rights; he encourages Catholics to read the Bible so as to better understand the church’s stance on immigration and its long-standing support for the rights of immigrants. Soto believes that comprehensive immigration reform, if done properly taking into account the concerns of all affected parties, would benefit the country as a whole.[14]


In 2003, Soto was inducted to the inaugural Mater Dei High School Ring of Honor.[4] Soto was recognized during the annual spring Ring of Honor and Founders Circle Dinner for his contributions towards their community.[4]

See also[edit]


  • Biographical Summary The Most Reverend Jaime Soto www.diocese-sacramento Retrieved: 2010-04-30
  • Bishops www.diocese-sacramento Retrieved: 2010-04-30
  • "Diocese of Sacramento". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved 2010-04-30.


  1. ^ "Bishop Jaime Soto Becomes New Head of Diocese of Sacramento," Catholic News Agency, December 2, 2008
  2. ^ a b SacBee. The next bishop November 17, 2007 Archived January 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ SacBee. Bishop receives soaring welcome Archived 2007-11-28 at the Wayback Machine, Sacramento Bee, November 20, 2007
  4. ^ a b c "Ring of Honor Advancement". Mater Dei High School. 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
  5. ^ "Bishop Dominic Mai Luong". www.catholic-hierarchy.org. February 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  6. ^ Catholic News Service. "Ten U.S. bishops to be World Youth Day catechetical leaders", August 10, 2005
  7. ^ OC Register. Era of Jaime Soto as auxiliary bishop ends, Orange County Register, November 4, 2007
  8. ^ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Bishop Soto Named Chairman of Subcommittee on Catholic Campaign for Human Development" November 19, 2010
  9. ^ a b Life Site News: "Outspokenly pro-life, pro-family bishop new head of US Bishops’ beleaguered CCHD" November 24, 2010
  10. ^ The American Spectator: "CCHD Bishop Defends Charity, Viguerie Urges Boycott" Archived 2012-01-11 at the Wayback Machine, American Spectator, November 17, 2009
  11. ^ Life Site News: "Sacramento Bishop Calls for Day of Penance Jan 22 for ‘Sinful Scourge’ of Abortion", Life Site News, January 15, 2010.
  12. ^ California Catholic Daily: "It is Sinful" September 26, 2008
  13. ^ National Catholic Reporter: "10 dioceses quit bishops’ antipoverty campaign" July 07, 2010
  14. ^ Catholic News Service: "Bishop Soto urges focus on biblical roots of immigration position" June 6, 2009

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William Weigand
Bishop of Sacramento
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Orange
Succeeded by