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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Ed Peters

Patristics (for Di Nardo). Cool.

Robert Miller

Augustinus' peevish comments -- which, I am grateful, you only linked -- present one of the greatest problems Benedict faces in trying to reform the Church in the US. The problem is the negative attitude of "conservative" and "traditionalist" Catholics to the opportunity immigration from the South offers -- the opportunity to make the US a "Catholic country", at long last.

The key to reform is to get US Catholics -- especially their bishops -- to "re-join" their brothers to the South. Unfortunately, the "culture" of US Catholicism embodies too much of the nineteenth century Irish and British model: a defensive, super-patriotic hands-across-the-water Anglophilia. What the Church in the US needs -- and is getting -- is a new influx of immigrants, legal or otherwise.

More broadly, I think Benedict is sending a signal to Americanists that he means business. His first order of business is Europe, but he intends to reform the Church in the US in head and members, as well. And he will use "surprise" and "unorthodox" methods to achieve speedy results.

Our German Shepherd may well make the the battle to reform the Church in the US a blitzkrieg.

Also note: Di Nardo was co-consecrated by Wuerl and Burke. He comes from western Pennsylvania -- as do several recent appointments, most notably Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville.


"What the Church in the US needs -- and is getting -- is a new influx of immigrants, legal or otherwise."

What the Church in the US needs is to be more faithful and obedient to the Churches teachings:

“Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” (CCC 2241)

Robert Miller

But what if the receiving country's "spiritual heritage" is militantly -- and increasingly shrilly and oppressively -- anti-Catholic. The WASPs are losing it; maybe, with the help of the Hispanics, we can push them over the edge of the cliff.


Robert - I'm all for making the country more Catholic. However, if the Catholics coming into the country are not going to obey the laws, in fact, have total and utter disregard for the laws, then I'm not so thrilled about working with them. Many bishops are trying to frame immigration as a moral issue. I agree with them. However, not one (that I'm aware of) has brought up the issue that those immigrating to a new country are obligated, but Church teaching, to "obey its laws and the assist in carrying civic burdens" When immigrants come over the border illegally, they not only are showing that they will not obey our laws, they are also not assisting in the carrying of civic burderns by not paying taxes. Immigration is a moral issue, but we can't forget for whom.


I think the potential for Hispanics to revitalize the American Church is limited, and very easy to overstate. In connection with pro-life work that I do in Southern California, I cross paths with many Hispanics most of whom are American citizens and first or second generation Mexican-American. From what I can tell, by and large they are indistinguishable from Catholic Americans of European descent. What the American Church needs in my opinion is a reform of the liturgy (and specifically, a de-Protestantization of it) and a return to orthodoxy. I have seen no evidence that either of these goals would be served were the American Church to become more Hispanic.


A related observation is that, as a whole, Catholic Americans have become indistinguishable from non-Catholic Americans -- the American Church is so Protestantized that American Catholics seem Protestant. The relatively small number of Catholics who are committed, orthodox Catholics are an exception to this -- it is this "creative minority" that remains distinctively Catholic. The large scale entry of Hispanics into the Church however won't increase the orthodoxy of the American Church because Hispanics are subject to the same Protestantizing influence as Catholics of European descent. All of which brings me to the point that I made above: What the American Church needs in my is a reform of the liturgy and a return to orthodoxy and Hispanics cannot be counted on to deliver either of these things.

Robert Miller

Dan and Kevin:

I share your hope for a renewal of the Church in the US. No doubt, I agree with you on most points as to what it should look like.

But a huge hindrance to the success of what we hope for is US Catholics' lack of solidarity with other Catholics of the Americas (except the Canadians who, forgive my lapse of charity, are worse than worthless). Let's not forget that Pope Alexander VI divided the entire New World between Spain and Portugal -- and that the WASPs were pirates, interlopers and "ethnic cleansers".

Our brothers south of the border are sons of that Papal dispensation, while we Catholics north of the border are largely what one of our WASP poets called the "wretched refuse" of post-Reformation Europe.

We'd better get used to the fact that the New World does not belong to the WASPs (and their "Catholic" fellow-travelers in the US). The opportunity for the Church now is to embrace a full "hemispheric" mission. We might begin by trying to recruit priests and religious from the Latin countries. One better, our bishops might merge their conference into CELAM.

Oswald Sobrino

Kudos to Ed Peters. I think he is right on target. I agree that the Church in the U.S. needs a massive cultural change.


I'd like to know if the new Cardinal will be celebrating the Tridentine Mass to help renew the Ligurgy. Will he help us in Texas regain our appreciation for the sacred?

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