Wednesday, January 15, 2003

From South Florida:

How churches are dealing with Hispanic immigrants.

Compare what the article describes as the Protestant determination to meet the practical and spiritual needs of this popularion with this perspective from the Catholic diocesan official:

"This is a big concern and we're doubling our efforts to find the Latino immigrants," said Sister Vivian Gonzalez, who works at the Office of Hispanic Ministry of the Palm Beach County diocese. Gonzalez said the diocese has begun keeping tabs on where immigrants are living and whether a community is large enough for the establishment of a church. "They don't come out of their niches, so we don't know where they are," Gonzalez said. Gonzalez said that the Diocese has 50 parishes, almost half of which are now in Latino immigrant communities. But a reluctance to organize around new populations has slowed the Church's efforts among Latinos."The Protestant churches may be more aggressive in attracting people, but we're not going to pound people on the head," Gonzalez said. "If you're baptized a Catholic, you need to decide whether that's your real faith no matter what happens."

In other words, whatever.

I don't know anything about the Palm Beach programs, but I do know that Miami can't help but minister "to" Hispanics of all kinds since it is so predominantly Hispanic (and Haitian, too), - so I don't think Sister Vivian's statement is entirely typical. But it still strikes me as expressive of a kind of indifference and blindness to what the realities of the situation call for.

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