By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hispanics, Parish Policy, and the Competition

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Our Rhode Island friend sends this link to a report entitled "The Coming Latino Catholic Majority." The article reports again what people have been noting for several years: there is a major demographic change among U.S. Catholics. In that sense, there is nothing new in the article.

But, something does stand out, at least for me. The article points out that one obstacle to Hispanic participation in the sacraments, especially if they are migrants, are rigid parish policies that are not flexible enough to accommodate particular personal situations, such as moving from one community to another. Wow. What a way to drop the ball: policy, policy, policy.

Recently, I fired my kids' medical providers because their policies (and ineptitude in scheduling routine appointments) made the simple, banal process of getting an updated immunization an unnecessarily bureaucratic, frustrating, and time-wasting process. My answer to the obtuse office staff was this: I understand your policy, and I am finding another doctor (which I did that same day).

Guess what Hispanics or others will do if parish policies block their participation in the sacraments? They will go to the competition, as I did in the medical marketplace. But this time it won't be to another doctor--it will likely be to another Christian tradition. If pride comes before a fall, so does rigidity. In fact, rigidity may really reflect a disguised pride and arrogance that imagines itself immune to competition.

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