Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some times I wonder

what has gotten into our bishops. They say we should welcome illegal immigrants with open arms because they are fellow Catholics and their faith is so much more strong and vibrant that ours. Because we Americans practice contraception we will be, the narrative goes, die out and the American church will joyously become Latinized as in Latin America. We should, we are told, embrace this and get with the program. The Whispers in the Loggia blog harps on this theme all the time.

Now, there is cause for concern about catechesis in America. Most Catholics don't seem to know or care about what the Church teaches. Many Catholics don't even go to Mass anymore except for Christmas, Easter and Ash Wenesday. But importing Latin American will not fill the pews or fix the problem. Do the bishops not read the newspaper or visit their own parishes? Gautemala, which like most of Latin America was once solidly Catholic; now it's half Catholic and half Evangelical. In Mexico, drug cartels have openly threatened priests and recently a priest and two seminarians were murdered there. All is not well.

The Charismatic movement seems to have gotten a toe hold in the Spanish speaking community here in Virginia and that is worrisome. Writhing on the floor to rock music doesn't have much to do with the faith of St. Juan Diego, St. Rose of Lima or the Holy Father. I know of a number of priests who find themselves in a dilemma. If they curb some excesses (I can't go into detail here because I don't want to get anyone in trouble) they'll be called a racist so they turn a blind eye and tell their American parishioners to hush the grumbling or to be patient.

Do the bishops not open their eyes when they travel? Little store front Spanish speaking only Protestant churches are everywhere. Not everyone from Latin America is a devout Catholic. That's a stereotype, baby. So far, I've seen two botanica (voodoo) shops in Alexandria and Arlington. The bishops are highly educated men, surely they know all this so why the constant happy talk?

Sure, welcome the legal immigrant who has skills that we can use and encourage him mightily. Welcome the legal immigrant to church and don't let him slip/or force him into a liturgical ghetto either. I realize how the liturgical ghetto thing happend. Catholics in Northern Virginia are not that friendly, period. If people are staring at Rocky and I when we show up for Mass what must it be like for someone from a different country?

But the current approach the bishops have taken isn't working and you don't need a degree in Theology to see it. The oxygen in the ivory tower must be too thin.