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Solidarity with the Latino Church - both here and to the south

Michael Sean Winters of National Catholic Reporter comments on a speach to CALL by Archbishop Chaput. I will discuss both the Chaput's remarks, which you can read at and MSW's comments at Read both, mine follow:

Archbishop Chaput mentions the crisis of children at the southern border and blames both sides for not passing legislation - however legislation to handle this exists (but the crisis needs to be funded and tweeked and we know who is holding things up). He begins speaking about the Cather's and the bloody Crusade to stamp them out. Of course in that era, simply talking through it was not an option and thank Heaven the CDF has no army. What really wiped this out though was the rise of the Franciscans. In the end of the talk, he links that Francis to the current one. He also talks about the religious demographics of Latinos (which MSW seems to ignore). A majority are Catholic, some are Protestant and some are former Catholic. That actually looks a lot like what Anglo Catholics experience, with non-Catholics becoming more Protestant - although Latinos go more Evangelical and younger people usually just become non-believers (although many people my age found that they came back to Church when they had kids). Getting back to the Francis effect, it seems that some do come back to Church, or at least reconnect with Reconciliation, due to the election of Francis (both here and abroad).

Chaput said that studies of North American Catholics show them to be cathecized but not evangelized. That makes sense - everyone who gets confirmed goes through extra cathecesis - which does not always keep them in Church afterward (in my generation, we were confirmed in primary school and went to Mass until College. Chaput said that Latino Masses are much more devotional. Also, while almost everyone goes to Communion in English Masses (one last Vatican II effect), this is not the case at Spanish Masses. Obviously, someone did not get the memo - or rather, some got the memo for the Clergy and others from the Lord. The clergy seem to delight in creating minor Mortal Sins. Most Anglo Catholics ignore them. Who has the greater faith? That is up to each person to answer. Chaput also says that Latino Catholics (I suspect he means the immigrants) are more Evangelized that Cathechized. That could be true if Spanish CCD is not available. The fact is, many Anglo Catholics (fewer now) went to parochial school. I suspect that everyone i the CCD generation is probably under instructed, as the nuns have left many parishes making Catholic School more of an elite institution. Sad.

What does Chaput suggest? 1. More Spanish Masses. 2. More CCD - including for adults. and 3. CALL should ask itself if it is working hard enough or meeting the right needs.

Now for MSW. He gives a cursory summary that confuses the part about the child immigration crisis with immigration reform as a whole, speaks of some of the statistics and promise more on the Evangelicization v. Cathecization. Its an interesting question - and I suspect the answer to both is to get more students into Catholic School (all of them actually), regardless of their ability to pay (including public funds). Also, adult remedial high school should be offered by each diocese - to include relligion classes - again with public funds, except for the religion classes. The same goes for Vocational High Schools (which the Church does not offer and should).

MSW mentions the difference between the Calvinism and Individualism in American culture, versus the more Catholic Latino culture. This sounds good, but it is not really true. Poor people in Latin America have been underserved the the Church. The more well off, who are less likely to migrate, are indeed Catholic - and urban poor people are more likely to be Catholic as well. In many nations, the country-side has been left to the Mormons and the Evangelicals (especially the Seventh Day Adventists - a religion that poor people would glom onto, although they will soon find that Jesus is not coming right away to give them propserity). The exception was the Archbishop who is now Pope Francis. He actually went out to the poor. The other bishops, not so much.

The other fact that is unmentioned in MSW's remarks is that to a very great extent, our political culture is Masonic. Indeed, the Masons can be found in Mexico City in their government (it was their demand that Catholic clergy dress as laity outside of Mass). I am not sure about masonic penetration to the south, but it would not surprise me. As you can see, it has different effects on various sides of the Rio Grande. Masons are a bit more benevolent in the US, so no restrictions against the Church emenate from the lodge (where they still exist they do come form Evangelicals who maintain that the Pope - even Francis - is the anti-christ, although the USCCB joining with the GOP on abortion and contraception has removed much of that friction. In Mexico, the Church was on the wroing side of the last revolution, which was led by Masons, who govern to this day.

On assimilation - I expect the younger generation to do so, once they have kids - just like American young people. The only way to get them in the Pews until at least college is to offer Catholic education to grade twelve. As for common Masses - many Latinos do go to English Masses and participate (including Filipinos who are also Spanish and Tagalog speakers). I expect that in time there will be more Spanish parishes, rather than Spanish Masses. Just like there are and were German, Polish and Irish parishes in the midwest. The key to assimilation is inter-marriage. When we see that, assimilation will be complete (in 50 years or so).

Sister parishes and ESL/SSL classes are a nice step, although unless the Latino partners are rural and a large part of the collection is sent there each week, this is only a nice gesture. Again, on language classes, full on adult high school seems appropriate for all newly arrived Catholic adults (so civics and religion can be thrown in, as well as English and maybe math) this should even be true for non-Latino immigrants, like the Bosnian Engineer who was waiting tables MSW describes. Not that symbols are not important. The Mass at the Border did not change any votes in Congress (still wonder why no discharge petition has been started), but it might make a difference among bishops who have been absent.

Boston College's suggestions are good and Chaput's are not without merit - but I like mine better, especially because they force the Church to spend more money where there is the most need - so much that they must keep working with civil government. Rather than lawsuites on contraception (which were always ill advised) we need suits to overturn the Blaine Amendments to the money can flow to Catholic Schools. These violate our equal protection rights and cannot be allowed to stand. This will free up money to fund sister parishes south of the border, so that they can make a stand against those who would steal our parishoners away. Even more should go to Haiti and the Dominicans who so mistreat them should be excommunicated as segregationists were in the Civil Rights era.

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