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Jaime Soto

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Roman Catholic

Roman Catholic

June 12, 1982


May 31, 2000


William Weigand

In office

Jaime Soto

Term ended
November 29, 2008

Jaime Soto Jaime Soto Parejo Photos Photos The Miguel Poveda Concert

December 31, 1955 Inglewood, CA, USA (

Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento

Columbia University, St. John's Seminary, Mater Dei High School


Studio Sacramento: Bishop Jaime Soto

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


Early life and education

Jaime Soto was born at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Inglewood, California. He is the eldest of seven children of a Mexican American family. 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. Soto graduated from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana in 1974 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

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.

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

Diocese of Sacramento

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. 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.

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

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).

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. 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

Bishop Soto is seen as conservative in matters of liturgy and 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.”

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." Soto has lamented that contraception has become “the unquestioned default mode of marriage.”

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.


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


Jaime Soto Wikipedia

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