ASK FATHER: Priest couldn’t hear confession in Spanish.

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Today I went to confession at a nearby bilingual Novus Ordo parish. The priest was visiting, and informed us that he didn’t speak Spanish and could only hear confessions in English.

I know that in the danger of death this wouldn’t matter, but under ordinary circumstances, do priests have the faculties to hear confession in a language they don’t know, even if this is undesirable pastorally?

Pastorally? You were able to confess your sins and receive absolution by a validly ordained – visiting – priest with faculties… when you wanted. That sounds “pastoral” to me.

Faculties to hear confessions do not pertain to language. If a priest has faculties to receive sacramental confessions, the language is indifferent. At the same time, in ideal situations, according to Canon Law, priests should be trained in languages that are useful for their ministry. So, it is probably not ideal to assign a priest to work with Koreans who won’t or cannot learn some Korean.

That apart, so long as a penitent can communicate her sins in kind and number and the priest can discern that the penitent is truly penitent, then there is not obstacle to the priest granting absolution.

Furthermore… if this took place in the United States of America… it could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?

Finally, everyone, regardless of your language abilities – GO TO CONFESSION!

Please share this post!
Share

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

100 Responses to ASK FATHER: Priest couldn’t hear confession in Spanish.

  1. jflare says:

    “.. it could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?”

    *sighs* Sadly, I’ve been accused–however obliquely–of racism or bigotry for something even as simple as that idea on several occasions.

  2. JonPatrick says:

    It’s too bad the Church doesn’t have one universal language that all of its liturgy and sacraments could be understood by anyone no matter where in the world they went. Oh, wait didn’t we use to have Latin?

  3. wmeyer says:

    “.. it could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?”

    For some years, I have contended that not to require English competency is actually racist. Want to succeed in the USA? English is essential. Prefer to cling to your birth tongue? You are likely to find the job and business opportunities dramatically fewer than for English speakers.

    As to the use of Latin in the liturgy, I have heard all the specious arguments in support of the vernacular until I could scream. None of them can hide the reality that many (most?) liturgical abuses in the liturgy have occurred in the vernacular. And when the Mass was in Latin, I could go to any parish and the Mass would be the same. Now, I can go to an adjacent parish and find huge differences.

  4. MrsMacD says:

    But Father, but Father if I learned to say my sins in Greek and confessed them to a priest who didn’t speak Greek, would it still be valid? It reminds me of when I was a teenager and went to confession to a priest because rumour had it he was deaf. Obviously this person has enough English to ask you the question, so why the question at all?

  5. LarryW2LJ says:

    This reminds me of the story my father told me of when he was in WWII. My family is Polish – all of my grandparents (5 of them, as my Dad’s father died when he was a a baby and his mom remarried) were all from Poland. Growing up in Pennsylvania, they went to a Polish parish. They spoke Polish at home, heard Mass in Polish every Sunday, went to confession speaking Polish. It was their way of life, Polish, Polish, Polish – even though my father was born here and spoke prefect English.

    So my Dad enlists in the army, and the first time he goes to the chaplain for Confession, he says, “Father, I never learned how to go to confession in English” and explains the circumstances. Without missing a beat, Fr. told him to confess “just like he was at home, the Lord will guide me”. My Dad said it ended up being a wonderful experience and one that he would never forget.

  6. Jim Dorchak says:

    This is a real issue for my family here in Chile. We are former residents of the former USA and our primary language is English. I think that the priest at the local parish (who is a wonderful priest who has been very poorly catechized) would hear our confessions but……….. there are no times for confession that we can tell! My wife and I have determined that here in Chile Sin is dead! Yep its true. There are no sinners in Chile.
    I think that this is typical through out Chile with one exception and that is the ONE CHURCH in all of Chile that says the Latin Mass every day (Santiago near Los Dominicos). At that Church they of course have confession before, during and after Mass and even when there is no Mass or just what the heck…….. when they have confession times. Apparently only people who attend the Latin Mass in Chile are sinners.
    On the more serious side we did find a “Plain Clothes” Jesuit priest who heard our confession in english and on the sly last year.
    Maybe we should go to one of these new evangelical churches here in Chile and get some pseudo sacramental confession and we would feel better. After all feeling better is what it is all about right?
    Where is the FSSP? Not in Chile or South America for that matter?

  7. TWF says:

    Jim: In the Dominican Republic, where I maintain a quasi-domicile, confession times are posted but confessions are only heard face to face. This is true everywhere I have gone and the extraordinary form simply doesn’t exist. Period. When asked about confessing with a screen I was told that Rome had mandated face to face confessions. I believe the priest was sincere…that’s what he has been told.

  8. TWF says:

    Oh…I’ve also had cases of questionable formulas of absolution when priests have “pastorally” attempted English. I am happy to be absolved in Spanish as long as it’s an approved formula!

  9. +JMJ+ says:

    I’m going to make what will almost certainly be an unpopular post to this audience, but:

    “…[I]t could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?”

    Really? REALLY? We’re going there in the Church?

    There are recent immigrants who haven’t been here long enough to learn English. There are people of all ages who simply don’t have the ABILITY to learn a new language. There are people who may have enough English to scrape by on a day-to-day basis, but who may not have enough to confess their sins (in the same way that I can scrape by in German, French, Spanish, or Russian (well enough to read a newspaper, order in a restaurant, get directions, or get my face slapped at least) or that I can make Mass responses in Latin, but couldn’t confess in any one of those languages – I don’t have the vocabulary). In my area (the Midwest United States), you have a constant churn in undocumented aliens recruited by unscrupulous employers (let’s ignore their legal status for the sake of this argument).

    This is a pastoral issue. Although it may not always be possible, these people ALL deserve to have their pastoral needs met by the Church in an easily-accessible way. To say, “…it could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?” is utterly dismissive of their needs, and if this is the attitude they face in the Church, no wonder so many immigrants from culturally Catholic countries and who have been practicing Catholics their entire lives are so ripe for the plucking by Evangelicals.

    That being said, I can certainly understand that there may be situations (such as those cited in the original question) where we CAN’T always provide the sacraments or other services in the languages that are commonly used in an area (although if it’s a consistent issue, then I would take it up with the Bishop). But we shouldn’t be dismissive of the issue.

  10. Seamus says:

    “Obviously this person has enough English to ask you the question, so why the question at all?”

    I didn’t get the impression that the person was asking because of any difficulties he or she might have in confessing, but because he/she heard the announcement and wondered how it might affect potential penitents whose native language was not English.

  11. Nordic Breed says:

    I remember well the fearsome Monsignor of my seventh and eighth grade years back in the 1950s who told our religion class that no matter what, we must confess our sins and not to worry if the priest spoke another language. Then he related the story of how he was a visiting priest in Chicago and somebody wanted to confess in German. Msgr. didn’t speak German or understand it, but he told the penitent to go right ahead. Then he revealed to us that God gave him the grace to understand every word and he gave the man absolution. He said we should trust in God with no fear.

  12. Elizabeth D says:

    Was the issue that the priest was refusing to hear the confession of a penitent who was only able to tell his sins in Spanish? Well the priest should have suggested which priests (if he was familiar with local clergy) know Spanish but also should have heard the confession in spite of the language barrier. The Spanish speaking priest at my parish does not really know enough English to confess someone in English but he has willingly heard such confessions and absolved people at times.

  13. Giuseppe says:

    I work at a hospital, and I once saw a Catholic priest hear confession from a patient. The patient did not speak English, and the priest whipped out his smart phone and they typed something back and forth for a while. The priest whispered English throughout and the patient whispered a slavic-sounding language. (I was with another patient in the room, but I was so curious that I couldn’t help but listen and watch, but I really could only hear whispers.)

    Added kudos to priests who go to hospitals. How many souls are saved by their actions? How many lives are touched (patient and family) with their prayers? These guys are amazing.

  14. Jon Patrick:

    The last time penitents could confess in Latin was probably 800 years ago, if not longer. However nice it might be to have all Catholics, worldwide, fluent enough in Latin to converse in it, I think that’s a curious objective to set for the Church. I don’t know how it would be accomplished.

  15. I have heard confessions in other languages. There is no problem about validity or liceity.

    The only problem is that I am unable to ask questions aiming at helping the penitent make an integral confession — i.e., helping the person to confess everything.

    Also, while I don’t really speak any other language, I can manage a bit of Spanish; and I have a prayer book with the words of absolution in several languages. I am happy to offer absolution in someone’s native language if desired. That can mean a lot to people.

  16. SaintJude6 says:

    @ JMJ
    If you are living in a country and not just a tourist, then it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to be able to communicate in the language of that country. Not knowing the language is unsafe for you and others. The only excuse for not troubling yourself to do so is laziness.

  17. Uxixu says:

    I’m relatively indifferent on an official language. There’s a good historical reason we don’t have one (the Founders couldn’t agree on one – English was out due to the Revolution. French was out due to their troublemaking after their revolution, etc etc). Conversational Latin isn’t happening. That said, I absolutely prefer the longer form Latin absolution.

    That said, the official language issue is largely a symptom of a larger problem with the refusal to assimilate caused by nativists and is a huge burden and historical anomaly in the US and bodes ill for the poor victims subject to the agenda of certain agitators.

  18. +JMJ+ says:

    @SaintJude6:
    If you are living in a country and not just a tourist, then it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to be able to communicate in the language of that country. Not knowing the language is unsafe for you and others. The only excuse for not troubling yourself to do so is laziness.

    Sorry, I don’t buy it. I agree that it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to ATTEMPT TO LEARN to communicate in that language, but that’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful, any more than there’s a guarantee that somebody who attempts to learn a computer language will ever become competent enough in that language to do more than create a “Hello, World!” program.

    You also say:
    The only excuse for not troubling [to learn the language] is laziness.

    I don’t know what your specific situation is, but in my experience, this is something that is generally said by people who don’t have experience working with immigrants. I agree with you that ideally all immigrants moving to a country would acquire fluency in the local language. But there are many cases where this is simply NOT possible (i.e., people who immigrate later in life and who are unable to learn enough of a new language to do more than barely get by). Others may seem supremely capable of learning a language, but may lack the facility to pick up more than a few words in that language (my father is an example of this; he spent more than 30 years studying Spanish, but can barely make himself understood). Additionally, as I noted, it is possible to learn enough of a language to get by for day-to-day usage and still not have the vocabulary to make a confession in that language. Finally, this ignores the case of those who do not have a fluency in that language prior to immigrating (i.e., refugees); how long do they have before learning to communicate and what is the penalty if they can’t – do we send them back?

    You also disregard the most important part of my argument. We are talking about the Church, not the State. The Church crosses national and/or language boundaries, and as the Church we don’t have the authority to demand that somebody acquire facility with the local language in order to receive the sacraments. As both @FrZ and @FrMartinFox note, a difference in language doesn’t mean that a person can’t receive the sacraments, but it certainly makes them less accessible.

  19. Indulgentiam says:

    +JMJ+
    @+JMJ+ says: “Really? REALLY? We’re going there in the Church?
    Yep, I’m afraid we must. It has always been Holy Mother Church’s job to look Her children in the eye and remind them that, “hey, life is work”
    Responsible hispanics provide for their own needs just like anybody else. It’s is to be expected that when one goes to a different country they will have to communicate in the language of said country. There are Spanish to English dictionaries for a couple of bucks in Walmart. Write out your sins and go confess them. Let’s look at the worse case scenario. You have an illiterate, friendless hispanic who needs a translator. Every, and I mean every government agency employs translators even translators with phony SS cards. Believe me I know I used to work for the Health Department. We did everything from filling out applications too helping them pay their bills. I didn’t mind after all they had children who needed to have the basics like electricity and food to thrive. There is a vast network of Hispanics that know how to, shall we say, get around. They know how the system works and they help each other out. Every hispanic I’ve ever met, aside from political asylees, is here because they planned it. It wasn’t a fly by night, get loaded onto airplanes, dumped with nothing but the clothes on your back on a tarmac, in the middle of the night thing. That’s what happened to lots of Cubans back during the Kennedy Airlifts. My dad came to this country with a third grade education. Back in those days local government agency’s didn’t employ translators. One was expected to solve their own communication problems. Resources were out there but one was expected to provide their own logistical solutions. And my dad did. My dad lived by the words “where there is GOD’s will there is a way. But you gotta be willing to sweat for it. This world owes you nothing” he died a year after the doctors said he couldn’t work anymore. He was 87. This mentality that you should be able to have your needs met with relative ease is nonsense. GOD gave us brains for a reason. Think, plan, provide for your own needs. If you feel anyone is “being dismissive of your needs” then look in the mirror because, sadly, you’ve fallen down on the job.

  20. MrsMacD says:

    My mother tells a story of a lady sharing a hospital room with her, after the birth of one of my siblings. She couldn’t speak any English and she was crying. Her five year old daughter could however speak some English and so my mother figured out from the five year old that the lady had a cesarean and hadn’t been given any pain killers. The hospital had a money saving policy of not giving pain killers unless asked for.

    It can be frightening to be left without proper care. I suppose it could simply be a daughter asking for her mother, if it happens again, if she can go to confession, or if she needs to wait for the priest that understands her language.

  21. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Of course you can’t always assume literacy.

    BUT, if Father who can’t speak Spanish could print out a very basic examination/list of sins that was bilingual, people could look up what the Spanish was for their sin and then say (or try to say) what the word was in English.

    And if Father kept a copy himself, he’d have a cheat sheet for understanding what people said if they said it in Spanish.

  22. tzabiega says:

    Actually, going to confession is such an important and personal thing, making a remark about “knowing English” is not legitimate here. My mother who is Polish and my mother in law who is Mexican both speak English pretty well, but don’t go to confession in English because they want to express their sins correctly in confession and they feel more comfortable when doing so in their native language. By the way, there are also priests in Spanish language parishes who don’t speak almost any English and priests in Polish language parishes who don’t speak any English as well. Maybe they should learn English as soon as possible, but maybe Americans should produce more vocations and not have to worry about that. And America is a land of multiple cultures, not just a former English colony (or only its Eastern part was such), so Americans are not defined by the English language.

  23. Indulgentiam says:

    @MrsMacD.
    That wouldn’t happen today. Even in very remote hospitals there is still access to the Language Line. All hospitals have access to it. They dial a number and bingo interpreter comes on the line. Available in over 200 languages. It is standard nursing protocol to assess a patients pain at the beginning of shift. I don’t know of a single nurse or doctor who doesn’t know the word for pain in at least 3 different languages. Spanish word for pain is actually taught in nursing school as are a few others. Sadly what your mom saw was bad nursing in action. Most nurses, that I know, genuinely care for theor patients.

  24. +JMJ+ says:

    @tzabiega – Thank you. Because of your first-hand experience with this, you made the point better than I could ever have hoped to.

    I’ll shut up now. :-D

  25. Indulgentiam says:

    +JMJ+
    @tzabiega
    I disagree. The official language of Poland is Polish. The official language of Mexico is Spanish. The official language of the USA is English. That is fact. It is amazing to me that Americans who go to other countries are expected to know that countries language and are considered rude if they expect the inhabitants to know English. However people who come here can disregard the official language and expect the government and everyone else to “meet their needs?” Really? That’s not logical.

  26. +JMJ+ says:

    @Indulgentiam:
    I disagree. The official language of Poland is Polish. The official language of Mexico is Spanish. The official language of the USA is English.

    Show me where this is stated. You can’t, because this isn’t the law in any State, much less the law of the land in the US. Besides, you’re talking about the State. This is a discussion about the Church. Even the most aggressive attempt at a law for English as an official language has never required private organizations to exclusively use English.

  27. TWF says:

    Official languages are interesting. Canada has two official languages: English and French. The reality, however, is that French is virtually unspoken in my home province of British Columbia. Federal regulations require French to be on the flip side of products you buy in the store (e.g. cereal boxes) and all announcements at airports to be in English and French, but it really serves no practical purpose out there. (Ontario is a different story due to its proximity to Quebec). The unofficial second language is quickly becoming Mandarin and/or Cantonese. Vancouver is now 30% Chinese-Canadians and Chinese has thus been added as a third language to the announcements at the airport. It is far more practical to speak Chinese in BC than it is to speak French. These things shift as demographics shift.

  28. +JMJ+ says:

    I apologize – I’m incorrect. Many states do have English as the official language in the US (including my own state of Iowa), but there is no national official language. Additionally, most of the states which do have an official language do still make services available in other languages.

  29. Indulgentiam says:

    +JMJ+
    @+JMJ+
    From US Immigration website
    “Path to Citizenship
    Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics)”

    I know this first hand because I am a first generation Cuban emigrant. I actually took the test. I was one of those folks loaded onto planes, at gunpoint, with nothing but the clothes on their backs. My family never forgot the great blessing it was that this country opened its doors to us. We all felt it a small price indeed t learn the language and laws of our new home.

  30. Tony Phillips says:

    You know, I’d go to confession a lot more frequently if our parish priest didn’t speak English. Maybe I should try confessing in Latin…that might work too.
    Confessionals without screens? No problem. Wear a mask.

  31. +JMJ+ says:

    @Indulgentiam:
    From US Immigration website
    “Path to Citizenship
    Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics)”

    There are also exceptions to this rule. Admittedly, they are primarily for older people who have been here for an extended period, but they are there (if you’re over 50 AND have been a US resident for at least 20 years, if you’re over 55 AND have been a US resident for at least 15 years, or if you have a mental/physical disability preventing you from learning English). But you’re changing your argument in mid-stream. There are many people who come to this country legally and stay as permanent residents, without ever applying for citizenship. But you continue to disregard the split between Church and State. Just because the State has these requirements is no reason for the Church to adhere to them. In many cases, immigrants come to the point where they CAN read/write/speak English well enough to become citizens because of the fact that the Church helps them to get to that point.

    I know this first hand because I am a first generation Cuban emigrant. I actually took the test. I was one of those folks loaded onto planes, at gunpoint, with nothing but the clothes on their backs. My family never forgot the great blessing it was that this country opened its doors to us. We all felt it a small price indeed t learn the language and laws of our new home.

    Congratulations on making it to the US and for pulling yourself up by your bootstraps! And yes – I’m serious about that.

    And this is my last post on the subject, unless you come up with something new. Your argument is essentially coming down to, “I learned English to get by, so others should have to as well.” You keep citing secular reasons without appearing to notice that nobody is arguing whether English is the de facto language of the land, even if not de jure. Just because you had the experience you did does not make it a universal experience, nor does it make it the only “right” experience to have. ‘Nuff said.

    Peace.

  32. Indulgentiam says:

    @+JMJ+
    I’m not “changing the argument”, you asked; “Show me where this is stated”And I did.

    You said: “notice that nobody is arguing whether English is the de facto language of the land,”
    you did, you said; “because this isn’t the law in any State, much less the law of the land in the US.”
    I quoted US immigration laws. The exceptions are not the rule of law.

    The Church does not exist in a vacuum it exists in countries. Whatever country the Church is located in She works within that countries established laws and language. In the USA that official language is English. It is the language taught in the schools. Are second languages great? Yes. Do they make a person more marketable? Yes. But immigrants can learn English the same way they learned their own language…one word at a time.

    Really the point is that ones needs are ultimately ones responsibility. Confession is a big deal. Ones soul really, really needs confession to grow in holiness. Can anyone really think that at judgment your going to get away with, “well…Ya know Lord…I didn’t go to confession b/c I lived in a foreign country, by my own choice, and wasn’t really comfortable with the language.” I dunno but I don’t think those folks are going to get a pass. If I was visiting Uganda, since I don’t know Swahili, I’d find me a Priest and confess my sins in english or spanish. Because I know that that’s really Our Lord in there and he understands me. However if I was going to be living in Uganda for any length of time I’d start learning the language. Because GOD expects me to get involved wherever HE puts me. Not just to stay in my comfort zone but to be about HIS business.
    Peace of CHRIST to you :)

  33. Daniel W says:

    Sorry Vater Z for posting more, but I just learnt that the first American pope is going to canonize a personal hero, Spanish speaking evangelist of much of the west of our beloved US of A, making it obligatory for him to be a hero for the Universal church!!!!! Talk about a coincidence.

    Surely some of the liturgy should be in the language of the community he evangelised here, and hopefully the rite will take place in an hispano-american location. I advise any priest wanting to minister at the event to brush up on their Spanish or risk being accused of sloth by some of the posters here. If I may make my point clear, please can all English speakers at least have a go at rolling your “RRRRs” enough to distinguish Saint Serra from Saint Sarah!!!

  34. Daniel W says:

    I can’t remember the last time I disagreed with Fr Z. This time I must question the following:
    “Furthermore… if this took place in the United States of America… it could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?”

    I would agree with this regarding states where English was spoken before Spanish, however in those US of A where Spanish was spoken prior to Spanglish, and where that community continues passing on our “Santa Fe”, – this attitude reflects the”manifest destiny” arrogance of English-speaking American Protestantism.

    If a priest wishes to minister in places in las Americas where the Church was planted through the evangelisation of Spanish speaking saints, he should consider learning Spanish to hear the confessions of that community! (Si padre? – Si! – or perhaps selbstverstaendlich for yourself!)

    What priest in his right mind would think that Puerto Rican Americans should learn English to go to confession in Puerto Rico or another hispano-american location? The same goes for the continuing Spanish speaking communities of Los Angeles (Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles), San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, Santa Fe, Las Vegas…. in fact most of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Montana, Utah ….. The offical bilingualism of Puerto Rico (and Canada for that matter) is a superb example to counter un-catholic Anglo-biggotry in other Hispanic places of the US.

    [Piffle. If people are going to live in these USA, they should also learn English.]

  35. JacobWall says:

    “.. it could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?”

    Yes. My wife could hardly say 50 words in English when I brought her to Canada. Yet she struggled through confession *in English*. The patient priest asked her questions to help, etc. Took longer than normal, but considering that we were the only 2 that regularly went to confession at the time, I don’t think was a problem. In Mexico, I confess my sins in Spanish. Not always easy, but learning the language of the country you’re in isn’t a bad idea.

  36. jflare says:

    “Just because you had the experience you did does not make it a universal experience, nor does it make it the only “right” experience to have. ‘Nuff said.”

    To be perfectly blunt, +JMJ+: BALONEY!

    Your overall comments reflect the all too typical excuses and legalistic equivocating that I typically hear from those who refuse to admit that we generally speak English in these United States. Refusing to do so mostly causes someone to be trapped in a self-inflicted “underclass”, because they can’t communicate with neighbors or colleagues adequately.
    If you wish to argue that some cannot learn, I must point out that I’ve never heard of any recognized learning disability that causes people to be incapable of learning a language. Most of the reasoning that I’ve heard essentially declares that people simply don’t wish to put forth the effort. Yes, it does take effort. Well, what of it? We had to expend effort to learn correct English grammar in school ourselves. It’s not that tough.
    I understand that English may be more difficult to learn in some ways than are other languages, but if someone intends to live here permanently, I think there’s no excuse. Certainly, if I moved to Mexico or Nicaragua, I’d be expected to learn Spanish.

    As to the secular vs sacred concern, I might point out that I do not buy the idea of any requirement for Separation of Church and State, especially when it means that Church and State mutually exclude each others’ ideas and practices. If anything, religious ideals need to be much more active in the State than they are. I think it horrific that we do not expect religious precept to be a normal expectation in law.

    As far as that goes, considering that Latin is the official language of the Church, I’ve never understood why Spanish-speaking peoples didn’t seek out the Latin Mass. Considering that their own vernacular is actually derived from Latin, I should think they’d have a much easier time of learning than would most of us English-speaking types.
    That people still insist on Spanish suggests to me that they simply don’t want to have to bother.
    I think that rather an insult.

    Hispanics have been a large population here in the ‘States for 40 years. Plenty enough time to have learned English. As noted elsewhere, most came here not suddenly, in a desperate flight for freedom, but in a planned effort. They could learn English if they wished. That they do not suggests to me pretty despicable ulterior motive.

  37. kurtmasur says:

    “Furthermore… if this took place in the United States of America… it could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?”

    I would just like to make a few points:

    1) While I do follow the logic of the above statement, it is not black and white as some people would like to believe. Many families in the U.S. southwest (eg. New Mexico, Texas-Mexico border), have roots tied to those lands dating back to the time when their region belonged to New Spain, and then Mexico. After the change in national boundaries “forcing” them to live in the USA (after all, it was not their fault that the boundaries changed and the Spanish-speaking people living there never immigrated to the USA), Spanish continued to be the dominant language in those regions, especially in communities along the border, and Spanish continues to be dominant there to this date. So by saying something to the tune of “hey, this is the USA, the official language is English, everybody should speak it (exclusively), and if not, go back to where you came from”, is rather short-sighted, and may I add, a bit on the arrogant side–certainly not very christian in attitude.

    2) As to regards to the argument that “the official language in Poland is Polish, so the official language of the USA is English”, again, it is not black and white as it seems. Poland, unlike the USA is actually a nation…it is a Polish nation, with its people having Polish blood, Polish ancestry, Polish culture, and yes, a real Polish language. All of these characteristics are rather unison for all Polish people.
    The USA, on the other hand, is not a nation in the same sense as the Polish nation. There is no uniform and unison American culture, American ancestry, American blood, nor an “American language”. The latter is not even native to the USA, as it was borrowed from England, which is an actual nation in itself with its own national “English” language. Anyways, to be a native Polish citizen means that you carry Polish blood, regardless of where in the world you are born. To be a “native” American (aka natural born citizen) means that you were specifically born anywhere in the USA. If somebody tells me they are “American”, I would have no clue as to regards to their culture or mentality. Could they culturally be shaped by their surroundings in Hawaii? Or in Alaska? Florida? Texas? Likewise, “American ancestry” doesn’t really exist with many “natural born citizens” having Irish roots, Italian roots, Dutch roots, etc. If America were a true nation, real “American roots” would exist (sure, they do exist, but that’s mainly the Native Americans, the so-called “indians”, who claim such roots). With America being the “melting boiling pot of cultures” that it is, it shouldn’t be surprising that numerous other languages co-exist together with English. Yes, English is the most commonly spoken language in the USA, but that doesn’t mean it’s the “official language”, the US Constitution certainly doesn’t define any language to be official to the USA. English is probably the most spoken foreign language across the world and that certainly doesn’t make it the “official” language of the world.

    3) Having said all of the above, I do agree that everybody should make it a point to learn the local dominant language of whatever region or place they happen to live in—but not necessarily for the sake of respecting the local language and culture, but rather for the person’s own sake, as a means of adaption and survival. As somebody mentioned in a different comment, knowing the local dominant language allows a person greater opportunities at succeeding. Bottom line, it makes perfect business sense.

    Anyways….

    I would just like to finish by changing the subject completely and asking Fr. Z why he always refers to the USA in the plural: “these United States”? I actually like the way it sounds with “these”, I find it a bit on the poetic side if you will, but still not sure if there is some specific reason behind the expression “these USA”, as opposed to “the USA”…..

    That’s all I have to say :-)

  38. +JMJ+ says:

    @jflare:
    Your overall comments reflect the all too typical excuses and legalistic equivocating that I typically hear from those who refuse to admit that we generally speak English in these United States. Refusing to do so mostly causes someone to be trapped in a self-inflicted “underclass”, because they can’t communicate with neighbors or colleagues adequately.

    I fully agree that English is the de facto official language. Show me where I didn’t. I simply said it wasn’t the law of the land. As @Indulgentiam pointed out, a knowledge of English is required for naturalization purposes, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not the law of the land. Nor do I disagree that immigrants SHOULD learn English. Additionally, under exceptions and accommodations, Dept. of Homeland Security states: “You may be permitted to take the civics test in your native language, but only if your understanding of spoken English is insufficient to conduct a valid examination in English.” This begs the question of just how competent an understanding of English people are required to have in order to become citizens.

    …I must point out that I’ve never heard of any recognized learning disability that causes people to be incapable of learning a language.

    Nor did I say there was a learning disability involved. However, research does show that the younger that a language is acquired, the more easily it is acquired. Anecdotally, I was younger when I learned German than I was when I learned my other foreign languages. I grew up in an English-only home, so I did not learn any of them through natural language acquisition. However, my German is much better than my other (non-English) languages.

    Most of the reasoning that I’ve heard essentially declares that people simply don’t wish to put forth the effort.

    I’ve seen similar research. Much of the research I’ve seen that makes this is created with a specific political (usually anti-immigrant) agenda.

    As to the secular vs sacred concern, I might point out that I do not buy the idea of any requirement for Separation of Church and State, especially when it means that Church and State mutually exclude each others’ ideas and practices. If anything, religious ideals need to be much more active in the State than they are. I think it horrific that we do not expect religious precept to be a normal expectation in law.

    I half-agree with you. I do not believe that people should leave their values outside the ballot box (“We can’t legislate morality!” – baloney, what else is a criminal law but morality that has been enacted as legislation? The irreligious left certainly has no problem legislating morality, although they’d have a fit if you pointed it out to them!). The State must not, however (especially in the United States) attempt to legislate the Church.

    But again – the State is not the Church. People can learn a language well enough to function in society, even well enough that they’re comfortable actively participating in Mass, but not well enough that they’re comfortable making a confession in that language. This is a pastoral issue, and @FrZ saying, “[Piffle. If people are going to live in these USA, they should also learn English.]” doesn’t change that. Is the Church required to make the sacraments available in those languages? No. But where she can, she should. Does this excuse people from the need to receive the sacraments if they’re not available in those languages? No. Nor am I excused from going to Reconciliation if I’m travelling in a country where I don’t speak a language, have committed a mortal sin, and can’t find an English-speaking Priest; we have to make do with what we have access to. The thesis that dismissing a pastoral need for what is essentially a political view is wrong.

    @kurtmasur:
    I would just like to finish by changing the subject completely and asking Fr. Z why he always refers to the USA in the plural: “these United States”? I actually like the way it sounds with “these”, I find it a bit on the poetic side if you will, but still not sure if there is some specific reason behind the expression “these USA”, as opposed to “the USA”…..

    I can’t speak for @FrZ, but I SUSPECT the reason he does this is that it focuses on the second word of the name of this nation: States, rather than on the increasingly-centralized authority at the Federal level.

  39. ” it could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?”

    I know when I was in Rome, I still preferred to confess in English even though I did not speak it much throughout the day. Since the questioner knew enough English to write you, I can assume they CAN confess in English but PREFER Spanish since it’s their native language.

    I’ve had the experience several times of people starting in broken English (or even with good English but a notable Hispanic accent) who were much relieved when I (the confessor) said “Entiendo Español.”

  40. Indulgentiam says:

    Wow, no one here and most especially not Father has even intimated the “learn English or go home” mentality.
    All anyone is saying is that if your going to live in a country, you should as a matter of practicality and civic duty, which we do have, according to the Church, learn the laws and the language of said country.
    If America is where the good GOD has placed you at this moment in history. That means you have responsibilities here. We are charged to be salt and light wherever we are. Can we be salt and light in spanish in the USA?sure But our evangelization will be limited. The question arises however how effective will you be at, say…helping your children in school? (school that teaches in English only) Teaching and helping them discharge their civic duties? How will you protect them from the errors being taught in schools and espoused by the secular English speaking society? (that is a parents responsibility) The answer is that you won’t be able to do so if you do not know the language of the land.

    We have responsibilities that extend beyond ourselves. The parable wherein GOD calls the one HE gave two talents “good and faithful servant” comes to mind. GOD expects us to increase in knowledge and wisdom all the better to increase HIS kingdom. HE knows exactly what we are capable of. Sure we can place interpreters, clergy etc…who will give people what they need, in their native tongue, in Church’s. But those people are still going to have to walk out into surroundings that they, for the most part, do not understand. That limits them. Think for a moment if that Priest or interpreter is transferred or moves.
    People nowadays see hardship as a bad thing to be avoided but it is not so. It is an opportunity to learn and adapt. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Teach him to speak more than one language and he can fish for more men :)

  41. Daniel W says:

    If we invade USof A invade and acquire territories with spanish speakers, we have to live with the consequences. Lincoln for example was not convinced it was a good idea to invade Mexico. Unless English speakers get their family act together, the Latinos may one day out vote us and change the official language.

    Although English is my mother tongue, I prefer to confess to a Spanish speaking priest, because they usually have a better grasp of the sacrament than those trained in English.

  42. maryh says:

    Should people who live in the USA learn English? Sure. Of course.

    Like +Jmj+, I know several languages, one of which I learned at a younger age in a foreign country, which I used to be able to speak almost as well as English. Like +JMJ+, I also work with a lot of Hispanics, who speak varying levels of English ranging from very little to perfect. And by “work with”, I mean we all work at the same place — I’m not providing services to the Hispanic community.

    So, PLEASE, for one nano second, could we separate the politics and social policy from the reality of language learning? After a certain age, how well you can learn another language depends on a lot of things beside willingness to work at it. Some adults can learn English well enough to get by just by watching English TV. Some can learn from books. Some need classes. Some simply will never get past the phrase book. And some are simply recent immigrants who haven’t been here long enough.

    Most people who learn another language as an adult will be able to learn at least enough to get by, but they may always speak with so much of an accent that they’ll still have trouble making themselves understood. (After a certain age, most people are literally no longer able to distinguish some sounds not in their native language(s) or childhood experience.)

    I would NEVER assume that an American resident who doesn’t speak English well, or at all, had deliberately chosen not to put forth the effort to learn the language.

    What that means for policy is another issue. But I’m really tired of hearing “they won’t learn English”, as if the only reason they’re not speaking it is because they’re too lazy or have something against English.

  43. jflare says:

    “So, PLEASE, for one nano second, could we separate the politics and social policy from the reality of language learning?”

    No, we cannot, maryh. Attempting to do so is immensely foolish.

    As I recall, this notion about the Church needing to be “pastoral”, not political, took hold sometime during my teens. For the life of me, I cannot understand how we reconcile this with responsible citizenship, regardless of the nation. If our faith means anything, our Catholic beliefs about love of God, love of family, and love of country have important consequences. We must admit to ourselves that Catholic ideals need to be instilled in social policy and in the political whirlwinds that drive that social policy. On matters related to immigration and language, I’m compelled to say that most of the Church’s statements–or those from the USCCB, at least–have mostly struck me as almost complete madness.
    Simply put, we cannot expect to hold together as one nation if our citizenry–old, new, migrant, native-born–does not expect to speak more or less the same language and share in some vintage of a common culture. If we do not share a common cultural expectation, we can expect our laws, either as a State or a Nation-state, to reflect the intentions of a modern-day Babel. We can’t have a nation if too many of our cultural and linguistic expectations conflict at every turn.
    As an aside, I also think that if we cannot expect to view ourselves as one nation, we may just as well toss the Constitution onto a burning barge and send it down the Potomac. No laws that might be written on paper sheets will mean anything if various cultural groups decide that one law or another doesn’t apply to them because they say so.

    So, you say it’s not easy to learn a new language? OK, I recall learning English grammar wasn’t easy or fun. We still needed to do it, no matter how much we grouched, groused, and groaned about it to our parents.
    I have always felt that responsible citizenship required that we admit life’s difficulties, then we all hold each other accountable to the same general standards of addressing those difficulties. Failure in this mostly means that, whatever our best intentions may be, any who fall short will not uphold their dignity as human beings created by God to the extent they should. ..And there’s little that anyone else can do in the interest of resolving that downfall.
    I know, someone will want to declare that I’m making mountains from molehills, that learning English isn’t THAT important to human dignity, or whatever. I don’t believe I’ve seen any competent reason to view life differently. Our dignity as human beings ultimately does come from God, but we cannot fulfill that dignity as much as we should if we can’t communicate with each other in a mutually understood tongue. We are social, vocal creatures.

    I understand just fine that learning English, learning American culture, learning American history, learning why any of those three are important, isn’t easy. Seems to me that such a problem will not be changed by trying to change standards.
    When any person comes to this nation, they can anticipate that those who’re already here will have normal expectations about how we all expect to conduct ourselves through life.
    As I mentioned earlier, such expectations are the normal ways that we fulfill our dignity as human beings in daily life.

    No, JMJ, maryh, we can’t ease off our expectations of English–or other aspects of American culture–lest we surrender dangerous degrees of our own dignity as creatures of God or hold others to standards that are too poor to allow them to be appropriately dignified themselves.

    ..And I have never once seen any particular effort being made to demonstrate that Americans have any kind of dignity of their own at all. Nor have I ever come across anything that hinted that the non-Hispanic ethnic groups that others of us came from (Irish and German, in my case) ever had any merit.
    Why then would anyone expect to look at a Hispanic with anything but disgust?

  44. Daniel W says:

    The small-mindedness and lack of American culture of the point of view which holds that speaking English is an essential element of American culture never ceases to amaze me. It’s the sort of culture that breeds and elects a President who has never needed a passport.

    English is one of four official languages of American culture – a little geography lesson – Canadians and Mexicans are Americans too, as are all South Americans, so French, Spanish. Portuguese are all official languages spoken by Americans.

    Canada is far more advanced than we gringos are in this – she officially recognizes both languages spoken by her people.

    Not all Latinos have come here as immigrants. English speakers came to Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona etc as immigrants (often illegally) into a Spanish speaking community.
    Catholic dioceses in LA and other such cities have always had a Spanish speaking majority. Originally, priests had to learn English to minister to English speaking immigrants in most of Texas and California etc.

    Try and broaden your understanding of the richness of American culture, history and geography, much of which was originally Spanish-speaking before the war declared on Mexico.

  45. Bea says:

    Where, then, Father, does “Who’s sins you have forgiven are forgiven them” come in?

    ““Receive the Holy Spirit.
    Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
    and whose sins you retain are retained.”
    John 20:23

    I have heard that certain sins can only be forgiven by a bishop or the Pope, himself. How can a priest discern this, if he doesn’t understand the language? Just wondering, it seems to me that a priest should be able to understand the language of the penitent to discern properly.

  46. jflare says:

    “The small-mindedness and lack of American culture of the point of view which holds that speaking English is an essential element of American culture never ceases to amaze me.”

    Daniel, I never cease being amazed by the attitude that “American” must never be limited to the United States. Apparently we cannot see any value in being a Canadian, a Mexican, or any of a number of sorts of sorts of Central or Southern American. No, we must tell off these obnoxious US citizens, declaring “American” to refer to anyone from the Western Hemisphere. Never mind that we’ve never had a need for being so politically-correct, except that a lot of people wish to be disparaging to the US for whatever reasson.

    “Canada is far more advanced than we gringos are in this – she officially recognizes both languages spoken by her people.”

    Last I checked, I didn’t answer to the term “gringo”. If someone were to refer to me as such, I might well look behind me to see who’s being addressed.
    Before you start standing in awe of Canada’s “advance”, you might want to remember that they didn’t come to that circumstance by way of any planned bilingualism. They came to that state because it made no sense to force Quebec to suddenly begin to speak English; from colonial days, that province had spoken French. They recognize two languages as a Commonwealth because not doing so would be immensely foolish.

    I’m all for broadening our understanding of American culture, so long as we do so for the right reasons. Most of those I’ve come across in these last many years merely wish to bash American citizens for not immediately embracing Hispanic culture. Oddly, those who keep pushing for these changes never seem bothered with learning anything about the American culture that’s already here.
    If you want to remember that portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and California had always spoken Spanish, I’ll want to remember that Spain had colonized these areas successfully long before the US arrived, so Spanish would’ve been a normal expectation at the time. Let’s remember though that the Mexican-American War had consequences, one them being that large portions of what’s now the American Southwest changed hands to an English-speaking nation. If many peoples never saw fit to change, let’s remember that many other peoples did, and many groups of people who had no interest in being Hispanic or Latino moved to the area for various reasons, sometimes pursuing wealth or jobs.

    If you’re concerned that many Americans migrated to then-Spanish territories illegally, I’ll readily acknowledge the fact. I don’t believe that proves much of anything of substance for today. We don’t believe that two wrongs make a right, nor that bloodless invasion necessarily would be virtuous.

    Anything else we need to throw out there?

  47. jflare says:

    “After the change in national boundaries “forcing” them to live in the USA…

    …if not, go back to where you came from”, is rather short-sighted, and may I add, a bit on the arrogant side–certainly not very christian in attitude. ”

    I’d say it’s pretty unchristian and short-sighted to refuse to recognize the consequences of wars and treaties. If we’re going to insist that those near the border shouldn’t be harassed so, it’d be interesting to know how we can justify condemning the violence in the British Isles.
    Don’t forget that much of the terrorism in Northern Ireland came about because some of the Irish hated the idea that Britain had taken over.

    …and then there’s the situation of the Basques in the one part of Spain….

  48. Daniel W says:

    jflare says
    “Before you start standing in awe of Canada’s “advance”, you might want to remember that they didn’t come to that circumstance by way of any planned bilingualism. They came to that state because it made no sense to force Quebec to suddenly begin to speak English; from colonial days, that province had spoken French. They recognize two languages as a Commonwealth because not doing so would be immensely foolish.”

    You are right there, just as you think it would have been immensely foolish to force Quebec to speak English, it would also have been immensely foolish to force Puerto Ricans to speak English, that’s why that part of the US is officially bilingual.

    My point is that we are paying the consequences of the immense stupity (as you put it!) of forcing the Californios and Neomexicanos to adopt English. It would have been far better for California to have followed the official bilingualism as we have in Puerto Rico.

    No, the terrorism in Ireland would not have happened without British occupation.

  49. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Why isn’t anybody concerned about the Spanish speakers whose ancestors were forced to learn Spanish? Lessee, how many native American languages exist in the Southwest, and how many have ceased to exist? Surely those are also “official languages” that all children should be forced to learn. Then we’ll add every single native language in the rest of the United States and its islands. And we’ll add Arabic and Visigothic while we’re at it, since that’s what the ancestors of the Spanish colonists spoke. And Basque, because sheepherders.

    But yeah, I’m sure that if everybody learns at least ten languages (which would have been a lot more fun in school for me), we can just ditch every other subject, because we’ll understand each other so well!

    And going totally outside the Indo-European language family and moving onto an agglutinative language with absolutely no relationship to English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, or Pennsylvania Dutch will build character, especially with kids who can’t read, write, or spell in English!

  50. +JMJ+ says:

    @jflare:
    As I recall, this notion about the Church needing to be “pastoral”, not political, took hold sometime during my teens.

    There’s always been a pastoral component to the Church’s ministry. Just because you didn’t become aware of it until then doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been. If we’re talking languages, the reason that we have culturally-Polish Parishes in Chicago, culturally-Italian Parishes in Boston’s North End and elsewhere, and culturally-Spanish Parishes…well…everywhere, is because the Bishops of those Dioceses decided at one point to create Parishes to minister to the needs of those communities, which included offering the Sacraments (such as Reconciliation) in those languages (yes, I know that the actual Sacrament was in Latin, but Priests who spoke those languages were able to communicate with their Parishioners). And even if that weren’t the case, so what? Fortunately for those who need those services, the people here (including @FrZ) aren’t the ones to make those decisions, our Bishops, who have the responsibility for seeing the bigger picture, are.

  51. +JMJ+ says:

    To cite myself:
    …is because the Bishops of those Dioceses decided at one point to create Parishes to minister to the needs of those communities….

    …and to amend my own statement before someone calls me on it: Yes. In many cases, people of a common culture or language gravitated to those areas to be with people of the same culture or language, and meeting their pastoral needs came later.

  52. Supertradmum says:

    I went to one priest in Malta who barely knew English and I do not know Maltese. I did not go for spiritual direction but for absolution.

    OK by me, but I am convinced that those in America who intend to stay should learn English. My ancestors had to do so, as they were not from England.

  53. Daniel W says:

    Some interesting points:

    Suburbanbanshee: I had thought of including the point about Native American languages but decided that might have been too much for some. For example you twist what I am saying about respecting the language of territories we have invaded, implying that that means that “all children should be forced to learn” those languages. Where has anyone spoken of forcing children to learn Spanish? I am only saying we should not complain that Californios and Neomexicanos do not wish to adapt to to the culture imposed on them by what Lincoln told Congress was an unconstitutional war with Mexico, and which thinks that English-speaking culture is superior: “…We must march from ocean to ocean….We must march from Texas straight to the Pacific ocean….It is the destiny of the white race, it is the destiny of the Anglo-Saxon Race.” (Congressional Globe:February 11, 1847)

    Supertradmum: I agree it is usually a good idea to learn some English, but “should” implies some sort of obligation. Considering the woeful experiences I have had with English speaking clergy, and the warm emphasis on family and children of so many Latinos, I will continue to respect and support Latinos who are rebuilding the Spanish culture which evangelized so much of the US and which still continue the mission of Bl Serra here by providing us with so many superb priests, whether or not they speak English.

  54. Daniel W says:

    +JMJ+:

    Actually, what happened originally is the Californian and Texan Diocese were all Spanish speaking and only when large numbers of English speakers started to MIGRATE to the annexed territories were some parishes allocated English speaking priests. In the early days after occupation, the Spanish speaking clergy learnt English to minister to the those MIGRATING from Eastern states.

  55. Indulgentiam says:

    Daniel W says:
    “Considering the woeful experiences I have had with English speaking clergy, and the warm emphasis on family and children of so many Latinos”…wow, that smacks of blatant bigotry.
    So considering your “woeful experiences with english speaking clergy” your just going to go ahead and consign the rest of english speaking clergy to the back burner…and support…what?…only latino clergy? That’s not Catholic. Are you proposing a movement to regain territory lost centuries ago by refusing to learn the language of the land you currently inhabit? How’s that work exactly? Sheesh that’s quite illogical.
    The laws of this country are in English, the school system… I could go on but I think you get it. It doesn’t matter how things where before the war. The war happened, things changed…move on. If you want to parade your separatist views before a nation of people’s from different cultures, some of whom were here way before latinos, well…your not doing anything to improve race relations. Thinking like yours encourages divisiveness. Many immigrants have come here and brought they’re cultures and enriched this nation. But they’ve come with the attitude that it’s not all about them and their culture. The language of this land is not spanish. How do we know this? Because the infrastructure is run in the English tongue. Who was here first or how many people speak a different language doesn’t affect that reality.
    And because I’m hispanic I’ve met plenty of latino clergy so poorly catechized that they introduce protestant heresy into the Catholic Mass. Every culture is made up of sinners let’s not forget that.

  56. Daniel W says:

    Indulgentiam:

    I am not separatist. My observations regarding the enrichment of our catholic culture by Latinos is no more racist than your observations that immigrants enrich us.

    I am merely pointing out that the attitude that Latino citizens who do not speak English are somehow “refusing to learn the language of the land (they) currently inhabit” is not accurate. They merely find that the Spanish speaking parishes and communities (that have existed here continuously since evangelization) cater well for their needs. They are not “refusing” to do anything. Learning English is simply not not attractive for them and they have no obligation. Some Hispanics like yourself think it is a good idea, others prefer to spend the effort conserving their language as an enrichment for our nation. As Fr Z suggested originally: “it could be a good idea to learn English,” but I think they should be respected for deciding otherwise and putting effort into other worthwhile tasks.

    I am not denying that there are some superbly trained English speaking clergy, (some of whom though have benefited from a formation of Spanish origin). I have also met some poorly catechized Latino clergy. Interestingly, your comment about protestant heresy indicates that the root of their heresy was unlikely to have been from a Spanish speaking culture!

  57. Indulgentiam says:

    “Learning English is simply not not attractive for them and they have no obligation.”
    Really? They have no civic obligations? The Catholic Church does not agree with you. How do these people discharge their civic duties…like…Jury Duty? They can’t if they don’t speak english. Which means they shirk that duty and thus they do not pull their weight in his society.

    You say:”Interestingly, your comment about protestant heresy indicates that the root of their heresy was unlikely to have been from a Spanish speaking culture!”
    So because the heresy did not originate in latino culture, latino Priests are somehow…what? Not guilty of continuing to spread it. Your kidding right?

    You say: “some of whom(english speaking clergy) though have benefited from a formation of Spanish origin” ok, sure. Also many clergy who’ve come here from Mexico and South America have been so poorly formed in their spanish seminaries that they are spreading the-stand in a circle-speaking in tongues-laying on of hands-crazy charismatic mass.
    I’m as proud of my cultures contributions as any hispanic. I don’t think that appreciating another culture or learning another language dilutes my hispanic heritage.

  58. Daniel W says:

    I agree they can learn another language, my point is they are not obliged to.

    They can fulfill their jury and other duties perfectly in Spanish – in fact it is often an asset in court as a witness to a conversation in Spanish. Since the state runs the courts in English, it is the state’s obligation to provide translations when her citizens do not speak English – this is especially the case for communities derived from californios and neomexicanos. In case you have forgotten, all citizens have rights as well as duties: freedom of expression and worship! They are not obliged to spend time and effort learning English if they believe this is not the best use of their time.

    I appreciate you have had bad experiences with Hispanic clergy, but my experience is that I have never been disappointed confessing to a Spanish speaker, whereas I often am disappointed when confessing to an English-speaker (though not always of course!)

  59. Daniel W says:

    Since the state runs the courts in English, it is the state’s obligation to provide translations when her citizens do not speak English – this is especially the case for communities derived from californios and neomexicanos….. and speakers of Native American languages of course.

  60. Indulgentiam says:

    “They can fulfill their jury and other duties perfectly in Spanish” That is simply not true. The courts only provide interpreters for defendants or witnesses, not jury members. I have family members who are lawyers, court clerks and cops.

    You say: “state’s obligation to provide translations when her citizens do not speak English – ”
    See that attitude right there, is the one that upsets hardworking people no matter what language they speak. The government shouldn’t increase my taxes to pay for another persons short sited, obstinate lack of preparation. The people who refuse to learn the language of the land they live in, thus refusing to carry their own weight by providing for themselves, are just irresponsible. They can’t perform their civic duties so the rest of us have to take up their slack. Sadly these are not people that any race can be proud of. The attitude of “the government has to provide for me” is odious to every hardworking American whatever their race. Whatever y’all want to call yourselves californios or neomexicanos you can’t change the language of the land simply by making up new words. You can continue to ignore reality but sadly it will cost you the respect of those you share a country and in many cases a heritage with you.

  61. Daniel W says:

    The fact that states do not yet provide translators for Spanish speakers means it is the state’s fault if non-English speakers are restricted in carrying out jury duty. There are many cases of jurors with extremely limited English making their contribution despite the small-minded limitations of the official system. As long as the jury has some who can speak both languages capably it is very possible and enriching for the courts.

    I understand frustration with taxes going towards translation services. However, that is one of the costs that is inherent in annexing Spanish-speaking territory, shoulder the expense incurred and – as you put it -move on!. The obligation for expenses incurred by annexation falls squarely on the shoulders of the nation that imposed English so blame the injustice of your taxes on our tendency to invade for profit. (Read here for example the cost of translation for Tagalog as well, incurred by our lust for territory and profit in the Philippines).

    If we as a nation are going to profit from the hard-work of non-English speaking citizens, whether citizens because we invaded or brought they were brought here since, we need to shoulder the costs of the fact that they are non-English speaking. That’s why so many companies make sure they are bi-lingual in products and services. They see Spanish speakers as a part of the heritage that is enriching and not a burden, and they profit from it, so taxes should go towards providing translation services. I don’t believe costs of translation etc outweigh what non-English speakers bring to the community.

    It “could be an idea for them to learn English” but it is not an obligation, nor is it necessarily laziness if they don’t. We need to make learning English an attractive option, but not judge those who choose not to or cannot.

    It’s about time Calfornia and other regions recognize this error in not going bilingual from day one like Puerto Rico.

  62. Indulgentiam says:

    Right Daniel, it’s everybody else’s fault, Pobrecito. Ok, I get it now. Your carrying around an 169 year old grudge because of the annexation of California in 1846. Um ok it’s your time. You wanna waste it…you’ll have to answer for it. But if you feel soooo strongly about the whole “don’t need english thing” how come you know english??

  63. Daniel W says:

    I am not Hispanic. English is my mother tongue.

    It’s not everyone’s fault, it’s not Lincoln’s fault for example, he argued against invasion precisely because of the injustice and consequences. Facing up to the consequences of past injustices is not a grudge.

    The government does not see learning English as an obligation for citizens, just a good idea, as FR Z puts it. It is last on the government’s list of suggestions for ways to get involved in the community!

    I am not wasting my time helping fight the prejudice that not learning English is a failure in duties, laziness and a burden. I have convinced some to drop the prejudice and move on.
    You’re right about time though in away – best to agree to disagree

  64. maryh says:

    @jflare
    All I was trying to do was to point out the realities of language learning. I was trying to provide factual information, not separate “pastoral” from other considerations. I have just seen what seem to me to be incorrect assumptions about language, and specifically the idea that anyone who doesn’t learn English is specifically not making sufficient effort to learn it.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t think people shouldn’t learn English. Of course they should, and those who provide help in this area are greatly to be commended. In every group of non-English speaking immigrants, there have always been a certain percentage of people who never learned English. There are always going to be such people because of what it takes to learn a language after a certain age.

    It’s not a matter of simply putting in the effort, like your grammar example. It’s a matter of having the resources (what if learning grammar meant you had to derive the rules of grammar instead of being taught it?) and sufficient ability (think of being able to carry a tune – most people can to a certain degree, some are very good, some will never be able to).

    Personally, I think the right approach is to help people learn English (which doesn’t need to imply a government role) and provide whatever help is needed for those who don’t. And absolutely NO bilingual education in grade school!!! That is just sabotaging the children from learning English when they can learn it the best. And I don’t see a problem with requiring English as a condition of citizenship in most cases.

    Maybe the attitude of many Hispanics in the Southwest is different than the ones I know in the Midwest. There is a different history there to deal with. But I wonder whether part of this comes from assuming that the only reason every Hispanic we meet doesn’t speak English is because they don’t want to. We don’t seem to make the same assumptions about other immigrants.

    Finally, I disagree that we should declare the U.S. to be bilingual. Unless almost everyone is equally competent in both languages, this runs a huge risk of ghettoizing whoever speaks the less dominant or powerful language. It may sound like a nice accepting thing to do, but it is most likely to make Spanish speakers into permanent second class citizens. I think it’s a feel-good answer that doesn’t really help the people that need help.

  65. Indulgentiam says:

    You don’t even claim hispanic heritage “I’m not hispanic” and you don’t have to deal with the limitations of not knowing english but your going to presume to tell other hispanics that there just fine and don’t need to know the language?? Que cara! (What a face)
    Your like the guy with 2 good legs giving advice to a paraplegic.
    Your political claptrap about righting a wrong that happened 169 years ago at the expense of people who weren’t even alive then is just a lot of caca. It doesn’t matter to you that there are plenty of hispanics who buying your nonsense miss out on opportunities for better paying careers. Que pena me da tu caso(you and your cause are a shame)
    Fr. Z, from all I’ve read here never said “it’s just a good idea”. He did say [Piffle. If people are going to live in these USA, they should also learn English.]

    Whatever society you live in you have “Civic” obligations. Only those suffering from entitlement delusions believe otherwise. People who refuse to meet their civic obligations, not from inability but preference, are seen as lazy and irresponsible because they are.

    You know we hardworking latinos bothered to learn english because we want to go down in the history of this country as invaluable assets. We don’t see the need to trade our dignity for our heritage. We meet this country on its terms and rise to the challenge. And thereby bring prestige to our people and respect for our culture. We sit around on the weekends and over a few beers lament those of our culture who persist in perpetuating the stereotypical “Dame pan y llámame tonto” but thank the Good GOD those who know us judge us by our own merits.
    Your attitude that this country owes latinos something because of what happened 169 years ago is your delusion. We don’t need your handouts. We’re happy to put our backs into it and earn our place wherever you put us…whatever you through at us…no excuses.

  66. Indulgentiam says:

    Typo–Not ‘through’ should be —whatever you throw at us…no excuses.

  67. Daniel W says:

    I respect the merit of what you have done precisely because you chose to do it. That is my point, you did MORE than your civic duty. Well done.

    I spend more than twenty hours a week teaching English for free to non-English speakers because I respect their efforts, (and I realize that part of the riches of our land that I benefit from were unjustly wrenched from their ancestors by my ancestors -it is not a hand-out but reparation and I am rewarded when I see them gain better employment). However, I should be paid to teach English to them, with our taxes and the taxes of companies who also profit from them while not bothering to assist them to improve their English.

    Fr Z originally stated “Furthermore… if this took place in the United States of America… it COULD be a good idea to learn English. No? No?”

  68. Indulgentiam says:

    Daniel,
    My friend, you ARE being paid for teaching english to people. It’s called a “Corporal Work of Mercy” and no one pays better than GOD.
    At every point in history there have been poor and downtrodden in every race on the face of the earth. Having them dwell on their past misfortunes does nothing but stir up bitterness in their hearts and hatred toward their fellow men.
    If while your teaching these folks english your also telling them how the “Americanos robbed them” 169 years ago then You are robbing them today. Robbing them and all of us of the peace and unity most of us are trying to build. Our human history is full of injustice. None of it was ever righted by those who sew the seeds of discontent and division. In the Our Father we ask “forgive us…as we forgive…” If you are not teaching to forgive and move on then you are not helping to bring the sheep together but are scattering them. I’ll take this opportunity to remind you of Matthew 12:[30] He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.

    Don’t sew bitterness Daniel sew peace. Teach latinos english and let them enjoy the world you’ve helped open up for them. Don’t turn their minds to all that’s ugly in the past and rob them of forgiveness. Remind them that there is more joy to be had in the present then anyone may have taken from them in the past.
    The Lord bless you and keep you,…
    Our Lady guard you and guide you.

  69. Indulgentiam says:

    Ps. And if your Catholic you’ll remind them that suffering is redemptive. Remind them to unite their sufferings to those of Christ Who suffered more than they ever will. Remind them to offer it up for those who are truly suffering. Our Christian brethren and their children are being slaughters by the thousands. What happened 169 years ago is nothing compared to that. Think of the opportunities for catechesis. GOD put you there for a reason. And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t to stir up more strife among the sheep.

  70. Daniel W says:

    The thing is Indulgentiam, it is not 169 years ago, it is still happening today.
    Just as Lincoln condemned the unbridled capitalism that abused slaves for profit and stole land from Latinos with the excuse they were weaker and deserved it, we need to condemn the same when it happens today when companies abuse Latinos. Don’t tell me that we are not still paying for the damage slavery brought on this country, and the same goes for the damage done to Native and Latin Americans.

    God forgives the moment we express sorrow, and we should imitate God. Encouraging our fellow Americans to recognize and repent our past sins will allow Native Americans, Latinos etc to respond and forgive us. We must also show our repentance with reparation, which means we have an obligation to offer them help to learn English. They have NO obligation to accept the help if they are a part of the community we need to say sorry to.

    If we put it as an obligation rather than as an offer of reparation, we are not really sorry and perhaps not forgiven as a nation.

    Have you read about the rape and slaughter of Mexican citizens on Mexican soil? – try and remember it every Cinco de May. That will give you the perspective to see that compares very closely to the slaughters you mention. I am also about moving on -we can forgive when we are asked – 169 years and still waiting for an apology from some (though not all)!

    That’s enough catechesis here, I will return to catechesis of others.

  71. Indulgentiam says:

    “it is not 169 years ago, it is still happening today.”
    Nonsense, you might get away with that if I hadn’t worked for the Health Department in my state for so long. Hispanics, even non-citizens are given free immunizations, WIC (food), health care for their minor children and much more at NO charge to them…on the tax payers dime. Where do you think all this remuneration your advocating for will come from? From people like me. Hard working Americans who didn’t steel anybody’s land. But that doesn’t matter to you. You’ve got this Robin Hood delusion going. You think your taking money from the government and giving it to those latinos that where robbed 169 years ago. Here’s a couple news flashes. The government doesn’t have any money of it’s own. They get it from me and those like me. And further those persecuted 169 years ago are long dead. Along with their persecutors long judged either in heaven, hell or purgatory.
    All your doing on that soapbox of yours, aside from providing me with debating practice and entertainment, is advocating taking food out of my kids mouth. And I resent it. And I’m not the only one.
    The food banks around here load up the poor, if any race, with 4 sacks of groceries every couple weeks. Catholic Churches pay hospital bills, electric bills, water bills, gas bills etc… And protestant institutions do the same. That’s a lot of reparation. This country that your so found of running into the ground, except for Lincoln, is not perfect but then neither are latinos. Aztecs sacrificed babies and virgins to their pagan gods, by the thousands, and ate their hearts. They also slaughtered not a few missionaries. Get off your soapbox muchacho. Every hispanic I know, and that’s a considerable number, wants NO part of your veiled attempt to create a class war. I, as a hispanic, which you are not, say you do not speak for my culture. Go speak for yours.
    For the record neither I nor any hispanic I know ask for any apologies as we know our own sins and are guilty of our own injustices. I repeat, we don’t want your handouts. We are offended by your attempts to define us as victims. We will match our wit and our work ethic to any other race on the planet and we’ll best Ya or we’ll go down trying.
    And before you ask what right I have to speak for hispanics I’ll answer…more right then you because I am one. Peddle your race war rhetoric up the road.

  72. Daniel W says:

    I’ve already responded to the histrionics.

    All you need to do to convince me that the Spanish-speaking community have an obligation rather than merely a recommendation to learn English is show me a current Government document stating the obligation, (rather than recommendation). If not, I will keep insisting with judgmental bigots, regardless of their background, that learning English is a good idea, not an obligation.

  73. Indulgentiam says:

    Your trying to resurrect an 169 year old dispute hiding behind a culture your not even a part of and you call me hysterical. Pffft your a hoot.

    From US immigration website under Rights and Responsibilities of US Citizens.
    Responsibilities
    Support and defend the Constitution.

    Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.

    Participate in the democratic process.

    Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.

    Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.

    Participate in your local community.

    Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.

    Serve on a jury when called upon.

    Defend the country if the need should arise.

    Ok Daniel, your going to say—see there, it doesn’t spell out the words “must know english”. But to those who use their reason it is obvious that in order to do at least 4 or 5 of the above a person must know english.

    For instance how will you stay informed of the issues affecting your community? Hispanic news outlets report on issues which affect hispanics effectively leaving them uninformed about many things. How do I know this? I’m hispanic. Alderman meetings are conducted in english. Jury duty, you do see that up there right?? must know english. No interpreters do jurors only defendants and witnesses. Sure anyone who doesn’t speak the language will probably be excused. But that only means they’ve not lived up to their “citizenship responsibility” another word for responsibility is obligation. I could go on…do you need me to break it down further?

  74. Daniel W says:

    We’ve gone over all this already.
    For example: “Serve on a jury WHEN CALLED UPON.” Think it through, people who are known not to speak English will not be called upon, so there’s no obligation.
    The president, governors and many others are not called upon, because like non-English speakers, they already have enough to deal with. Are you really saying the president is not fulfilling his responsibility/obligation because he is not called up? Do I need to break it down further?
    Our lazy presidents, govenors etc shirking their civic responsibilities and avoiding jury duty….you are a hoot!

    One of the reasons I make an effort to learn Spanish is because we are a bilingual culture. Get your lazy non-English speaking friends to learn to roll their RRRs and read Spanish so they can be more accurately informed of events in the Hispanic community that affect them. English news outlets leave out lots of Hispanic stuff and some outlets put a clear prejudiced spin on it when they do include it. Sounds like you have fallen for Fox’s claptrap about lazy Latino’s. Now I understand your histrionics.

  75. jflare says:

    Daniel W,
    I would contend that your arguments convey the typical attitude of many who wish to continue to foist the false multi-culturalist claim. In essence, we’re all going so speak a different language if we choose, but we’re all going to get along anyway. Unfortunately, such an argument has been proven time and time again to fail miserably in real life.
    If you wish to argue that we should’ve left the SouthWest speaking Spanish because Quebec still speaks French, I must remind you that most people in Quebec who had any concerns about citizenship had already been speaking French for a few centuries. We cannot honestly say the same about the American SouthWest. If many people, especially nearer the border, spoke Spanish after the war with Mexico, it’s also true that many people spoke English. We fought the war with Mexico in part because many English-speaking people wished to be US citizens, not Mexican.

    If someone wants to argue too that we have Polish churches and what-not, I must say that yes, we do. …And to my knowledge, they don’t speak Polish or other languages anymore. Most have become American instead.

    JMJ commented that learning language isn’t easy. Well, I never said it was. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

    Again, most of these arguments come about because someone insists that the Hispanic community doesn’t need to assimilate with the rest of the nation.

    We are not a bilingual nation outside of the adamant refusal to learn American (US) culture.

    I have yet to see any hint that the Hispanic community cares a whit about their supposedly adopted country. If anything, I see an insistence on trying to transform the US into something else merely because they can’t stand to let go of the old country.
    That or native English-speakers who lay subtle charges of racism or bigotry when we object that our country is slowly being trashed. All because we don’t wish to be bullied into being Hispanic when we need not be.

    Sheesh.

  76. Indulgentiam says:

    I don’t watch Fox News Daniel. My money goes for more important things than cable. I get my news the old fashioned way, I read :)

    You say: “people who are known not to speak English will not be called upon”
    Don’t you know your American jurisprudence
    Selection of Jurors

    Potential jurors are chosen from a jury pool generated by random selection of citizens’ names from lists of registered voters, or combined lists of voters and people with drivers licenses, in the judicial district. The potential jurors complete questionnaires to help determine whether they are qualified to serve on a jury. After reviewing the questionnaires, the court randomly selects individuals to be summoned to appear for jury duty. These selection methods help ensure that jurors represent a cross section of the community, without regard to race, gender, national origin, age or political affiliation.

    You say:”Get your lazy non-English speaking friends to learn to roll their RRRs”

    Don’t get your mad up. I would if they were living in a spanish country but their not. Besides they’re always asking me to teach them spanish I do what I can. Over meals of their good ole fashioned meatloaf and my good black beans we share our cultures and find we’re not so different. We all love GOD, our children, our families, apple pie and beer :)

  77. Indulgentiam says:

    Jflare says: “I have yet to see any hint that the Hispanic community cares a whit about their supposedly adopted country.”

    Whoa there, read my several posts up there. I’ve been arguing with Daniel for a couple of days more than hinting that I care more than a whit.

    In my family we have nurses, doctors, cops, lawyers and practically every male has served in one of the Armed Forces. My little brother did 3 tours in Iraq starting with desert storm. My son is headed for the US Marines.

    Don’t let Daniel up there convince you that all hispanics are what he says we are. He’s not even hispanic, said so himself.

  78. jflare says:

    ” If not, I will keep insisting with judgmental bigots, regardless of their background, that learning English is a good idea, not an obligation.”

    If there’s no legal obligation stated in US law, Daniel, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be one. I recall having this part of the debate about 17 years ago. I felt then–and still do–that we’re in serious trouble as a country if we ever reach the point where we feel obligated to insist on English in law. Theoretically, it would allow us to settle the issue from a technical standpoint, except that it wouldn’t because too many would merely seek to immediately overturn it by whatever means they could wrangle. More pointedly though, such a law would most likely be the last, desperate, attempt to being made to hold the nation together as one. We’d be very likely to split into 6 or 7 smaller nations not long afterward, merely because we would not be capable of getting along.

    Then again, if there’s no official legal obligation that newcomers to the MUST speak English, neither is there a teaching by the Church that requires that most of us whose families have been here for several generations must surrender our nation or our cultural heritage merely to satisfy other groups of people who refuse to surrender theirs, but wish to live within our borders anyway.

    I must point out how, in my lifetime, I have heard the Church all but openly condemn Americans for being racists or bigots, merely because we don’t immediately jump to embrace Hispanic culture. I’ve heard more or less the same view conveyed with regard to our attitudes towards the various tribes, politically-correctly known as Native Americans, which is an abuse of language itself, or to self-described African-Americans. Apparently, mostly because someone else insists on being pissed off about our American cultural heritage, we’re now branded as racists and bigots for the sole crime of having white, non-Hispanic, parents, and wishing to speak our own English language.
    In the same period of time, I have never once heard or witnessed the Church even admit to the existence of Irish, German, French, or Italian culture, nor any other Western European group.
    Somehow, simply because all these groups have essentially assimilated with the wider culture, we’re not to remember the cultural contributions of our own ancestors.

    I think if the Church wishes to recognize the plight of the immigrant, She also needs to recognize the sufferings of those of us who cannot play the race card, nor be the victim of life.
    I’m REALLY tired of being blasted because someone can’t stand the fact that I’m a …(gulp!)…white, heterosexual man. …And God forbid that I should be Catholic to boot!

    Talk about a need to widen cultural horizons!

  79. jflare says:

    Indulgentiam,
    I have lived in two or three cities (well, towns might be slightly more accurate) in my home state. In my lifetime, I have watched a whole section of my home town go from being obviously American and nobody thinking much about it, to being very obviously Hispanic. ..And I’m apparently not allowed to critique that at all.

    Yours is one of an EXTREME few that I’ve heard from that have bothered admitting that we don’t live near Tijuana.

  80. Daniel W says:

    “In my family we have nurses, doctors, cops, lawyers and practically every male has served in one of the Armed Forces. My little brother did 3 tours in Iraq starting with desert storm. My son is headed for the US Marines. ”

    I am just as proud of my relatives who earn an honest living working in restaurants and cleaning apartments of the rich (without needing any English) as I am of my relation to lawyers and doctors (and a little embarrassed by the war-crimes of one particular US marine, not that that translates to all- but his training was diabolical!)

  81. jflare says:

    OK, Daniel,
    Let’s try a little more.
    “…cleaning apartments of the rich (without needing any English)…
    I have come across these sorts of argument before too, and have learned to dismiss them as lacking credibility. By this, we’re to agree that people will carry on tolerably well in these United States, English-speaking or not. Or, if we have cause to think that such will not work out so well, that we can blame the English-speaking folks for their “intolerance”. For some reason, any time cultural conflict arises, someone always sees fit to blame the white folks for the fact that trouble arose, never admitting that the situation was a risky one from the get-go.
    If anyone would point out that the staff would be much better off if they spoke English passably, if only to be better capable of negotiating with employers themselves, such suggestions are summarily chastised for the “narrow mind” of the American raising the objection.

    As to your embarrassment regarding the Marine, I served in the Air Force for over 8 years; I don’t recall hearing anything about training for Marines, Airmen, Soldiers, or Sailors, that struck me as being remotely diabolical. Most military personnel are trained for doing things that nobody really wants to need to do, but we all understand has need for being done at times.

    I’m curious: What did the Marine receive training for that you consider so horrific?

  82. Indulgentiam says:

    Good morning Daniel :)
    Good for you that your proud of your family and their honest labor. I myself clean houses to make ends meet. My mom and aunts where factory workers by day and cleaning woman by night. Their lot improved considerably when they learned English. They became crew managers, shift managers and rose on up the ranks. Thus we all prospered & contributed to the economy. Therefore as responsible adults, having prospered by learning English, they understood their civic obligations and performed them. Thus becoming assets to their American communities.

  83. Indulgentiam says:

    @Jflare says: “In my lifetime, I have watched a whole section of my home town go from being obviously American and nobody thinking much about it, to being very obviously Hispanic. ..And I’m apparently not allowed to critique that at all.”

    Immigrants have been moving to this country for decades and changing the landscape. The Italians, the Irish,the Germans, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Pakistani, and on and on. Typically the men will come over first usually because they want to make a better life for their families and either for Political or economic reasons they can’t do that in their country. So here they are. They earn money send some home and sock some away for a little house. When they have enough they send for the family they’ve been missing for years. Their family gets here, they get jobs and they realize, wow there’s work for anybody that wants it. So they bring the rest of the family over. And because their family they want to live near each other. So they buy a house or rent and apartment near their loved ones. It works out well as families babysit for each other thus allowing more members to work. Communities have been built like this in the USA for decades. I don’t understand what objection anyone can have. Witness the little Italy, the Chinatown, the Polish quarter etc…to be found in many cities. Jflare their not the enemy looking to take over. Their just looking to carve out a place for themselves and those they love. This country was built on such. Yes, there are those, of EVERY race who come here and don’t pull their weight. Let’s not dump it all on hispanics.
    And I am by no means an “extreme” example. I am run of the mill. Hispanics that I know value their dignity and family honor. We’ve learned the language, sweated, scraped, dug our foundation and built homes here. And we’ll fight shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans to protect them.

  84. Indulgentiam says:

    Jflare says: “I’m REALLY tired of being blasted because someone can’t stand the fact that I’m a …(gulp!)…white, heterosexual man. …And God forbid that I should be Catholic to boot!”

    Hispanics don’t own the msm. We’re not the ones blasting you. “White, heterosexual, Catholic man” hey you just described my brothers, uncles and cousins. Admittedly some have a bit of a tan. Others though are white as snow, must be the Castilian in them.

  85. jflare says:

    Indulgentiam,
    I understand just fine that your comments aim to reflect the value that various cultures have brought to the fabric of the US. Unfortunately, this does not mean that all is well as a result. I need to be at work soon, so I can’t go into specifics, but suffice to say that inter-ethnic strife amongst “white people” has been historically almost as much a problem as have other struggles. …And I don’t mean “nativist” vs “immigrant”, but migrant group vs migrant group.
    If ethnic enclaves might be demonstrated as a great way for different groups to carve out a niche, such enclaves also can mean that law and order will only be vaguely recognized. If we don’t have some degree of pride in our nation, we cannot expect civil society to remain civil.

    And if I may say so, my comments regarding the tendency of Hispanic peoples to be exclusive around the nation come from personal experience. I have had entirely too many run-ins with someone who comes from heaven-knows-where who speaks only very poor English–not just Hispanics–who help create all sorts of difficulties.
    My viewpoint doesn’t come from mainstream media, but from tangling with various persons pretty much in my own back yard.

  86. jflare says:

    BTW, I’m well aware that such comments come dangerously close to reflecting an intensely intolerant view. Unfortunately, I have seen little cause to believe that anyone, including the Church, will necessarily say or do very much to remember the dignity of all the people’s who’re already here. For some reason, many are willing to make a big deal out of being “charitable” to newcomers, but that’s the end of the input.

    For some reason, the Church doesn’t seem to place any emphasis on sharing a common cultural heritage. If there’s anything of “diversity” to be recognized, it typically must favor the minority. Let anyone else be busted if they don’t like it.

    ..And we wonder why there’s so much ethnic tension….

  87. Indulgentiam says:

    Jflare says: “I understand just fine that your comments aim to reflect the value that various cultures have brought to the fabric of the US. Unfortunately, this does not mean that all is well as a result.”
    All will never be well here. All will only be well in heaven. Here you will have hardship interspersed with moments of joy and friendship. If you only want friends that look and sound like you, your missing out on an awful lot of joy. The Good GOD loves variety. How do we know this? Look around. Look at all the different colors, species and the variety that exists in HIS creation. It is worth contemplating why HE created so much variety and what good there is in it for you.

    You say: “If ethnic enclaves might be demonstrated as a great way for different groups to carve out a niche, such enclaves also can mean that law and order will only be vaguely recognized.” I assume, and I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, that your referring to the lawlessness that exist in the poorer sections of town. And I’ll answer you the same as I did Daniel. Every race is made up of sinners and has its own criminal element. I don’t think you can build a case on the premise that there was no lawlessness in the USA before immigrants came over. I’ll remind you that the Wild West was called that for a reason.

    You say: “I have had entirely too many run-ins with someone who comes from heaven-knows-where who speaks only very poor English–not just Hispanics–who help create all sorts of difficulties.”

    Your run ins are with individuals not entire cultures. An individual “who creates difficulties” is not indicative of his entire culture. For example because of Bill Clinton I don’t think that all American males are licentious adulterers. Nor do I fault you for the EXTREME difficulties that Al Gore’s stupid climate change claptrap unleashed on society.

    You say: “For some reason, the Church doesn’t seem to place any emphasis on sharing a common cultural heritage.” That’s probably because Holy Mother Church sees us as Her children, one and all. Thus the name Catholic–from Church Latin catholicus “universal, general,”

    You and David have a lot in common in that you insist on holding on to a grudge. Some foreigner makes you mad and so your going to hold it against everybody that looks like him. That’s not reasonable and it’s certainly not Catholic.

    Your “you don’t belong here vibe precedes you.” Most of us we understand that. We know that when you walk into someone’s home you have to earn their trust. That’s fine we’re up to the challenge. We don’t have enclaves. We have families just like you do. In my old neighborhood when somebody moved in, no matter what they looked like or sounded like we brought them a house warming gift. We invited them over for BBQ. We got to know each other, we found common ground and friendship.

    When the preverbal poop hits the fan and the persecutions heat up we’re going to need all hands on deck. Catholics come in all colors. Some of those hands may not be your color and the folks attached to them may look nothing like you.
    You may find yourself staring into the face of someone, who looks nothing like you, but is willing to die for you why? because he carries in his heart the same love for GOD that you do. And he believes that greater love has no man than that he lay his life down for his brother.
    Don’t close yourself off to the possibilities jflare. You never know what gift GOD is sending your way in the hands of a stranger. :)

  88. jflare says:

    “Don’t close yourself off to the possibilities jflare.”

    You might consider that idea yourself, Indulgentiam. Your comments seem to me to demonstrate that if anyone professes a need for a common language or culture, that you’ll summarily dismiss such a person. You’ll offer all manner of purported reasons, even insisting that God, in His wisdom and love, must surely love all the variety because He’s alleged to have created it.

    As I read this latest comment, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the story of the Tower of Babel. In that case, God confused the language of the masses of people, thereby rendering incapable of communicating competently with each other. Whether that actually happened quite that way or not, the example is quite poignant. It doesn’t matter whether lawlessness happened amongst the rich or the poor. In fact, oddly enough, I chanced to think of the Godfather movies while at work tonight. The character of Vito Corleone may have begun poor, but he was wealthy by the time of the story. ….From reading the book and remembering all I’ve heard about the wonders of ethinc identity, I find myself wondering that we don’t praise the Italian mafia dons for their tenacity. I think the idea of organized crime to be abominable, but if our law is essentially based on culture and our culture is ultimately based on ethnic identity, …we’re going to have a horrid time explaining why the mafia are so evil. Yes, they committed murder and theft, but they kept their families together to a fair degree even so.
    They were, after all, fighting to carve out a niche for themselves, weren’t they?

    “When the preverbal poop hits the fan and the persecutions heat up we’re going to need all hands on deck.”
    Indeed. ..And I have wondered for many years now if we might still ultimately descend into anarchy or civil war in this nation. Even during my college years, I could see the ties that bind us together as a nation becoming dangerously weak. I think that trend has rather continued. I wouldn’t mind ethnic enclaves too much if I felt that ultimately, everyone would stand together. But especially when we have groups of people advocating for groups of people to move back and forth between nations, sending money here and there, I see much more an economic incentive for a particular family or two being described than an interest in the common good of all peoples.
    Especially after the riots in LA and Cincinnati, then the ruckus or two with Zimmerman in Florida or Wilson in Missouri, I do find I’m wondering how much the varying groups of people will see others as human beings with dignity.

  89. jflare says:

    I suppose I should make something somewhat more clear from a few moments ago:
    My point is not to equate Hispanic culture at large with the actions and attitudes of the mafia, nor to turn the actions and attitudes of comparatively small groups of people into a nationwide bloodbath. The former would be a gross distortion of the intentions of most people, whom I’ll assume have more interest in aiding their families as honestly as possible than they do in undoing a country. The latter might well be a gross exaggeration that groups of ne-er-do wells pose to the actual domestic tranquility of the nation at large.

    Instead, my point is to emphasize that, however well-intentioned we might argue this group or that to be, we still ultimately have decisions to make, as a populace, about what our expectations for daily life in this country will be.
    We cannot realistically expect to view ourselves as a mishmash of cultures that conveniently happen to live next door to each other, occasionally recognizing a subordinated national culture and language, and expect that we won’t incur serious problems by doing so. Seems to me that our nation’s history demonstrates quite clearly otherwise.

    If we can admit that we live in a fallen world, this does not imply to me that we should be complacent about intercultural strife, assuming that they’ll work it out eventually. All too often, such conflicts will be “resolved” by violent actions inflicted by one group or another. Sooner or later, we may be forced to be involved in some incident, if only to avoid being a target.

    I find it quite ironic these days: I hear about how great it’ll be that we’ll have all sorts of cultures intermingling. …Yet I’ve been told that when my parents married, many people warned them that an Irish Catholic and a Protestant German would never work because they’d never get along. It would seem that the most of these issues were resolved by virtue of both parents expecting to be Americans; the Protestant became a confirmed Catholic when I was 4. (…I didn’t know the last until about 5 years ago. Apparently my grandparents were not well pleased! Oops.)

    As I consider the point though, I’m struck by how miserable life most likely would’ve been had they both insisted on sticking with their original cultural influences, but marrying anyway.

    If God loves variety, I don’t believe he does so at the expense of unity.
    But that’s what I see and hear most from advocates for multicultural..intentions.

  90. Indulgentiam says:

    Jflare: “You might consider that idea yourself, Indulgentiam. Your comments seem to me to demonstrate that if anyone professes a need for a common language or culture, that you’ll summarily dismiss such a person.”

    What? Either you haven’t read my previous comments to Daniel or…I dunno what. I have been arguing the Exact Opposite. I stated clearly that all who come here have an obligation to learn English. That in order to perform their civic duty they must know the language of the land. I know english isn’t my first language but I’ve reread my posts and I can’t see where you got the idea that I was saying anything else.
    Show me where I’ve said that immigrants shouldn’t learn the language of the land they live in, in order to fulfill their duties as responsible law abiding citizens.

    Frankly your whole Godfather, Vito Corleone analogy just goes to show how you persist in defining all cultures, other than yours, by their criminal element. Don’t forget that the same culture that produced the Gambinos and Bonanos also produced Eugenio Maria Paceli Venerable Pope Pius XII, Pope Saint Felix III, Pope Saint Gregory I and the list goes on.

    You say: “If God loves variety, I don’t believe he does so at the expense of unity.”
    Agreed, But neither does the mere existence of variety cause disunity. We don’t all have to be alike to get along. We must speak a common language to accomplish the goals of a civil law abiding community. See there Jflare? I just said it again.
    But different cultures can live together. Will there be problems? Sure, like I said this isn’t Heaven. But people of different cultures have been coming together and building communities since the inception of mankind. The USA was built just that way. Strife and lawlessness exists everywhere there is man. Because where there is man there is sin. That’s Concupiscence which we ALL suffer from. That we can rise above our petty inclinations and work together is historical fact.

    “But that’s what I see and hear most from advocates for multicultural” yeah, well just b/c you see and hear it that way doesn’t mean that, that is what I was saying.

    May I respectfully suggest that you turn off the godfather movie on the boob tube and go talk to an Italian. And judge that person on their own merit. I’m pretty sure you want to be similarly treated.
    And don’t forget to show me a quote to back up your accusation that I dismiss people who advocate “a need for a common language”

  91. jflare says:

    I said more accurately that you seem to reject the idea of a common national culture. Your comments seem to me to make that idea pretty clear.

    You’ll agree that people need to speak the same language, yes. Such a view appears to be aimed exclusively at allowing differing groups of people to communicate with each other so much as is strictly required to fulfill civic obligation, perhaps even be able to communicate with a boss. But when it comes to embracing much of anything of the commonly held culture of the wider nation, you seem to think that such does not exist.

    I beg to differ. I grew up with it.
    Granted, what I consider to be worthwhile contributions of American culture might be considered either a mere brush of patriotic zeal, or else has been crowded out by a great deal of rubbish these past several decades. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

    As an aside, such a problem explains why I find that Fr Z’s postings on art, music, and other works to be often interesting and exciting precisely because I have almost never seen any such interest. I have heard plenty enough from the Church about social justice and whatnot and been acquainted with what that tends to mean. Hearing that popes, bishops, priests, or wealthy-ish Catholics have actively patronized the Fine Arts in the past…doesn’t readily compute.

    But I digress, though not bad for a segue into something else important:

    If you want to complain that I view other cultures exclusively through a criminal lens, I’d comment that I’ve rarely had cause for doing otherwise. I know little enough about German or Irish culture that I’m not likely to have an interest in Hispanic culture from an ethnic exchange viewpoint makes no sense. As mentioned before, the Church, the academy, and most political or cultural figures seem to be unable to admit that an American cultural heritage exists or has worthwhile value.
    Once you’ve tossed any reasonable possibility of ethnic exchange and ignored most other national or even regional cultural possibilities, you’re mostly left with the criminal element.

    Lastly, for all that it might be interesting to further reveal how much we don’t see eye to eye, we’ve already been beating this rabbit for some days and I need to get on with other concerns in life.

    It’s been interesting, but I don’t believe I can respond further to this particular posting.

  92. Indulgentiam says:

    Well…that you were not able to provide a single quote, of mine, to back up that which you accuse me of does signal the end of the debate.
    In the final analysis you complain a great deal about others not doing enough to respect your culture, while providing a laundry list of reasons why, you yourself, see no valuable contributions from any other culture but your own.

    You say: “I said more accurately that you seem to reject the idea of a common national culture. Your comments seem to me to make that idea pretty clear.”

    Actually what you said was: “if anyone professes a need for a common language or culture, that you’ll summarily dismiss such a person.”
    You where unable to provide a single quote, where I even allude to such, because there wasn’t one. Thus your opinion is based on some “feeling” of yours but NOT fact.

    You say: ” But when it comes to embracing much of anything of the commonly held culture of the wider nation, you seem to think that such does not exist.”
    Again no where do I even allude to that. In fact in a previous post I relate where in my old neighborhood we got together, over many meals, with our American friends…ref: “meatloaf etc…” you shouldn’t fling baseless accusations around.

    You assert that: “we’re not to remember the cultural contributions of our own ancestors.”
    That’s nonsense, American history is taught in the schools, as should be. There are various national holidays. Founders days are a big deal here in these parts. All of which are highly attended by neighbors of all ethnic backgrounds. It seems to me that you are more interested in driving wedges than building bridges. That’s your choice but then you shouldn’t complain when your surroundings are rife with disharmony considering you do nothing to foster peace. GOD bless you and keep you,…

  93. jflare says:

    *sigh*
    I didn’t intend responding, but I think a few concerns might be reasonably addressed.
    “In the final analysis you complain a great deal about others not doing enough to respect your culture, while providing a laundry list of reasons why, you yourself, see no valuable contributions from any other culture but your own. ”
    “From US immigration website under Rights and Responsibilities of US Citizens.
    Responsibilities…

    …Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
    Serve on a jury when called upon.
    Defend the country if the need should arise.”

    I see no mention here of any need to learn about American culture, nor do you make any comment elsewhere requiring such. You berate me for not wishing to learn any culture outside my own, though you offer no competent reason for why I should, outside of your own intolerance for American culture. You also make clear that you intend to advocate for Hispanic culture, though again, beings I’m not Hispanic and you clearly have no interest in my culture, your sole rationale for my caring about Hispanic culture is…you say so.

    “In fact in a previous post I relate where in my old neighborhood we got together, over many meals, with our American friends…ref: “meatloaf etc…” you shouldn’t fling baseless accusations around. ”
    Yes, you do say that you have a friendly dinner with your American friends, inherently making clear that you no intent to subordinate anything of your Hispanic culture to becoming American yourself. But you intend to insist that you’re a citizen of the United States. This is an intentional redefinition of being an American citizen, one that We, the People, have every right and reason to reject.

    “That’s nonsense, American history is taught in the schools, as should be. There are various national holidays.”
    Learning American history and celebrating American culture are two separate things, which I’m sure you know.

    ” It seems to me that you are more interested in driving wedges than building bridges.”
    It seems to me that you are very interested in practicing hypocrisy. If others choose to build bridges by means that don’t suit you, such as accepting American culture, you chastise them for failing to act according to your designs.

    Americans have offered you peace for decades. You’ve rejected it, insisting that it must be done your way, else you’ll insinuate or openly charge racism or bigotry.
    We do not agree with you attitude that we must view this nation as a tossed salad of numerous ethnic groups. We recognize that such an approach will certainly create strife that could readily be avoided when at least one group decides that “tossed salad” most accurately means that they’re allowed to do the tossing, thereby inflicting civil unrest. As a result, we recognize that insisting that all cultures will get along except for sin amounts to a willful neglect of our civic responsibilities.

    Whether the Church’s leadership admit it or not, we generally follow the notion of a “melting pot” because…that’s what this nation has tended toward most and has worked the most effectively.

    I think it sad that you hold America and American culture in such low regard that you’d refuse to take part.

    Have a good week.

  94. Indulgentiam says:

    “I think it sad that you hold America and American culture in such low regard that you’d refuse to take part”
    Clearly you must have your own interpretation of “taking part” I vote, I pay taxes. I volunteer in my community. I defend the right of Americans to expect all immigrants to speak the language, of this land, on a blog for 3 days running. What more am I failing to do??
    I know American history, celebrate national holidays alongside my neighbors and try to be a good neighbor. I DON’T think that you should have to know my countries history unless you want too. NOWHERE have I said that. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t value my heritage and share it with those who EXPRESS an interest. I don’t want to put our hispanic holidays on American calendars. Cuz this isn’t a copy of my country. I am perfectly happy celebrating them in my own home as is my right. I value American culture not as a “tossed salad” your a hoot. But on its own merit. NOWHERE do I say differently. I do say that I’ve gotten together with my American neighbors and shared our distinct cultures and found common ground that we can appreciate. That is what I mean by building bridges. One person at a time one friend at a time. My family has been in this country over 40 years. Our men have gone to war to defend this countries interests. If that’s not participation enough for you then that’s clearly unreasonable.

    You say: “Americans have offered you peace for decades. You’ve rejected it, insisting that it must be done your way, else you’ll insinuate or openly charge racism or bigotry.”

    What a whopping load of horse manure. I’ve lived in this country for decades is the only truth in your statement. I haven’t called you a bigot. I’ve quoted your statements verbatim and pointed out your narrow view of other cultures.
    I follow US laws to the letter. That IS respecting the culture which I live in. I participate in the political process. I encourage my son to serve this country. I make friends with my neighbors regardless of race. I don’t just tolerate them. I actively seek to understand and befriend which naturally necessitates learning and respecting others culture. But I don’t have to turn into a carbon copy to appreciate them or their culture. I don’t understand your animosity. Everything in my previous posts indicates that I respect this country and have accepted it as found.

    You say: “We do not agree with you attitude that we must view this nation as a tossed salad of numerous ethnic groups.”
    Well I dunno about the tossed salad thing but that their ARE numerous ethnic groups in the USA is a fact. Now you can view that as a bad thing but that won’t change the numbers. Not all immigrants want to force their culture on you but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be allowed to celebrate it in our own groups. Or even show our heritage in the public square. You seem to think we should be neither seen nor heard. Lest we somehow dilute the American culture. That’s kinda the same prevailing attitude that the secular culture has about Catholicism. They say much the same as your saying to me, specifically; keep your Catholicism (ethnicity) out of my sight and out of the public square. Not going to happen. I am an American. Not by birth but by choice. I’ve learned the language, obey the laws, pay my taxes and respect my neighbors. No where did the oath I took say check your culture at the door chickie. I know America is NOT just the sum of its many ethnic groups. It has a history and a culture of its own. I’ve learned it, lived it, appreciate it, incorporated what I like of it and left the rest alone, as is my choice. I can appreciate American culture while holding on to my heritage and family traditions. It’s not an either or proposition for me. I can do both. You seem to view all immigrants as a threat to the American culture. I guess with all the recent Islamic intrusions into American law and the whole Arizona border patrol thing I can understand your fears. And before you accuse me of a position I do not hold, yet again. I will tell you that I like Arizona Sherif Joe Arpaio. I pray he continues to hold his own against a hostile administration. But hey, obama’s not asking me for advice on that. I live in the Midsouth, speak with a twang, like baseball, apple pie, buttermilk biscuits, George Washington, know the preamble to the U.S. Constitution by heart, eat BBQ pork, and I think we should put a pig in the ground every mile or so to keep muslims from building mosques. I am an American. If you don’t like the fact that I’m also hispanic that’s your problem.
    GOD bless you

  95. Indulgentiam says:

    And you didn’t back up any of your baseless accusations with a single quote of mine. My quote of US immigration is an answer to another posters question. I don’t mention learning the culture 1. B/c it wasn’t what he asked and 2. B/c US immigration doesn’t address it.

    You say: “Yes, you do say that you have a friendly dinner with your American friends, inherently making clear that you no intent to subordinate anything of your Hispanic culture to becoming American yourself”

    Your “inherently” is your misinterpretation. You can not prove your point using my actual words so you’ll allude to some “inherent” subversive meaning behind my sharing a plate of beans with a neighbor. Yeah ok
    When you debate someone you debate them on the merit of their arguments. Not what you think they are saying but what they actually are saying. If they clarify their point and your going to argue saying, “no that’s not what your saying. Let me tell you what your saying.” Then that’s not a debate your just emoting all over the place. You couldn’t pull a signal quote where I actually say anything derogatory about America. Nor have you proven that I do not participate as a US citizen both in the legal sense and in the culture. Thus your premise stands defeated. I have prayed for you. I hope that you will do the same for me. GOD bless you

  96. pannw says:

    Please excuse the interruption, but if either of you would like, or at least tolerate, the opinion of one on the outside looking in on your dispute, I don’t think you really are in disagreement but are merely suffering from a problem that often comes with trying to have a meaningful discussion online.

    Indulgentiam, it looks to me that jflare is missing your embrace of American culture, because you have distinguished yourself from your ‘American neighbors’, when you yourself ARE an American neighbor, no, though of a Hispanic decent? And jflare you don’t seem to be seeing beyond the self-description to the fact that Indulgentiam has said time and again that he/she thinks people should learn English, and was in fact arguing on the same side as you against Daniel W about assimilation. “From people like me. Hard working Americans who didn’t steel anybody’s land.” See…so while he/she identifies ethnically as ‘Hispanic’, clearly he/she embraces the USofA. He/she can not completely erase his/her cultural or ethnic heritage by becoming American, and (in my opinion as a rather hardcore American patriot), shouldn’t be required to, so long as it doesn’t clash with his/her adopted country/culture. I understand your frustration with enclaves of lawlessness and stubborn refusal to assimilate at all, (parades with the Mexican flag, fights over American flag T-shirts in school, etc,) but I don’t’ think that is Indulgentiam’s experience and it is probably more of a criminal immigrant problem, don’t you think? What is it that you would have legal Hispanic immigrants relinquish or embrace that Indulgentiam doesn’t seem to agree with? I don’t see Indulgentiam promoting La Raza or anything, and would be shocked to find they did, since that is both criminal and immoral as it is truly a criminal invasion with the desire to re-conquer, and from reading Indulgentiam’s posts here on Fr. Z’s blog for some time, that strikes me as something he/she would reject too, as a Catholic American.

    Anyway, I understand the irritation with hyphenated-American stuff, but in light of the conversation, I see why Indulgentiam identified as ‘Hispanic’.

    I also completely agree with you, jflare, about how the Church has come down apparently opposed to citizens of the country in favor of those who would invade illegally. I am tired of the insinuation by the likes of Daniel W and many bishops, that I am somehow less than Catholic or even a racist or bigot because I value my country’s sovereignty. Believe me; it infuriates me to no end. As the wife of a very patriotic man who is not Catholic, I see the Church leadership (and a great many members) to be a huge obstacle to even the possibility of his conversion and I resent it greatly. Still, I do not think we can hold that sort of thing against those like Indulgentiam who are here as legal immigrants. I do hope he/she understands your frustration, and mine, too.

    I wish you would go back and re-read Indulgentiam’s posts to Daniel W.

    Really, you seem to be on the same side, but because of a misunderstanding now find yourselves arguing. I find it very sad.

    I’ll butt out, now. Peace.

  97. Indulgentiam says:

    pannw– you didn’t butt in :) I’ve been praying that someone will point out what I’m missing. Fr. Z has been beyond patient. I keep wondering when he’s going to ban me. I know there are radicals out there that look like me. Your right I’m not one of them. But in the words of Popeye “I yam what I yam” I can not fail to describe myself as an American of hispanic decent simply b/c I am one. And simply describing myself as such does not show disdain for another culture. It is simply a statement of fact. Like that I have brown eyes. I do not want to deny my heritage any more than Jflare wants to deny his. Especially b/c there are nuts out there that look like me but don’t speak for me. I do not want folks to think that la raza or other such riffraff are in anyway representative of hispanics who have lived here and become Americans. I hope that makes sense. Feel free to correct me. Correction is the sincerest form of friendship :) that’s an old Cuban refrain. Loosely translated.
    GOD bless you.

  98. jflare says:

    Before I say anything else, I agree that we’ve been testing the depths of Fr Z’s patience for a time. I appreciate it, Fr, because I think we do need to have this kind of discussion, even if it’s..testy..at times. I must beg your indulgence at least one more time.
    Indulgentiam,
    In this debate, ..I have been aware that we have no small degree of risk of miscommunication due to..well, lack of physically being near each other. If cross-cultural communication can be difficult face to face, doing so over the internet…can be brutal. If it’s the case that I misgauge your views badly, I do apologize. It’s very good to hear that you have only the best intentions toward America and/or American culture. I have met or argued against many who did not.

    I could go on and on trying to address some of what you wrote above, but for the sake of brevity, perhaps I’ll keep it to this: You say that in a debate, we’re to address the merits of the argument.
    I agree. I have attempted to doing so myself. It’d be helpful perhaps, if you understand that I’ve had many debates before, with people raising pretty much the same kinds of arguments. I’ll hear that we must respect each others’ attitudes, follow the law, and so on. …And ultimately, the ideas that someone wishes to convey..are exactly the opposite of what I should think they should.

    If I’m misinterpreting you badly, my apologies, I’m used to being reinterpreted and thrown the other way accordingly. In college, in the military, even in the Church.
    By the way, don’t get mad, but I had halfway expected if you might express yourself to be a member of La Raza.
    I should mention too, that I’m well aware that it can be tough to mutually understand “American” culture. I tend to think of Alabama, Restless Heart, Irving Berlin, Kate Smith, and John Philip Sousa. Or similar ilk. If what you’ve encountered has been more along the lines of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Nirvana, and Britney Spears–which admittedly, seems rather likely if y0u didn’t grow up here, or even if you did, I’ll grant that you might be more than reluctant to embrace much of anything “American”.
    I wish it were not so.

    By the way, I did notice that your reference to language was based on immigration law and did not specifically related to culture. I felt that was a risk worth taking; most any occasion I’ve come across this argument, the intent has been to detract from American culture, emphasizing merely strict adherence to the law, not necessarily anything further. That you would aim to add to American culture is a first, at least for my experience.
    Again, I wish it were not so.
    Glad to know you’re not aiming for subversion. If most who profess Hispanic identity tend the same direction, this nation may not be in as much danger as I might otherwise assume.

    paanw,
    You raise a couple of interesting points.
    I’ve had similar difficulties with the attitudes expressed by American bishops, sadly not only in terms of immigration, but also with Mass.
    I recall an occasion, about 12 years ago, when I was stationed overseas, an Air Force officer providing weather support to the Army. One day, my TSgt came in, told me that he was debating whether he should take his wife and son to services at a church not far away. He said he didn’t believe much of what they seemed to believe, but at least he wanted his son to be in an environment where the people expected..decent behavior. I knew exactly what he meant and felt compelled to ponder the point for a moment. I finally, reluctantly, told him that I couldn’t recommend doing so. I had to tell him that, though I agreed the environment would be much more..decent..he needed also to consider the example he’d set for his son. I had to comment that, if his son would start asking him questions about that church’s teachings in 10 years, when his son would be a teen-ager, he’d be forced to tell his son that he didn’t believe any of it, but sought the “nice” crowd. I commented that I felt that this would ultimately make him, the father, look like the world’s biggest hypocrite to his son. ..And he most likely would have a horrid time regaining his son’s trust. Bad as that was though, it wasn’t the worst part.
    I had thought at the time that this would be a good time to extend an invitation to have him meet me at my church with his family that Sunday. I realized that, to my horror, I wasn’t comfortable with doing so because, not only did I not understand the Mass in enough depth to explain anything to him either during Mass or afterward, but I also had little confidence that he’d be willing to return. I had little enough confidence in the Mass as provided on Post then that I’d actually sought to find a good Mass somewhere locally, even if they spoke German, not English.

    You asked about what I would want the Hispanic population to relinquish. Admittedly, that’s a bit touchy, but there are a few steps we could take.
    For starters, it would help if the Hispanic populace would knock it off with Cinco de Mayo, or at least, cool it off to a fair degree. The American citizenry already has an Independence Day on July 4th. I understand that can be viewed as a ..hateful..demand, but when you make a big ruckus about another nation’s independence, and from yet a fourth country, I do find I’m wondering where your allegiance really lies.
    It would also be helpful if, if people really must fly a Mexican flag at home, that they should also fly an American flag, even have the two on opposite sides of the porch.
    I understand that may sound nutty, but there’s a reason for that. I didn’t get too super worried about flying any flag at all before 9/11, but I bought one afterward, even buying a light sensor to ensure it’d be back lit after dark, so I wouldn’t be flying it in the dark before I returned home from work at the Base. I had desired doing so also when I got to Germany, then decided not doing so would be wiser. At that time, Germany and America..were having a rather testy relationship. That was the last many months before the 2003 Iraq War; I recalled a fellow Scouter (volunteer adult Boy Scout leader) pointing out the angry protest against America when we visited Nuremberg one day. I didn’t precisely expect trouble in the small town I lived in, but I thought it best to avoid aggravating the neighbors anyway.
    ..And then again, when I deployed, I recall reading the directive that we weren’t to fly any American flags on any of our tents, even in Tent City. We had Iraqi nationals (natives of Iraq, in other words) about at times and the Theater Commander wished to avoid an appearance of being an occupying force. I felt, and I think so did many, that this directive against the flag made no sense because such flags would’ve been flown pretty much only in those areas of the base where we actually lived, not all over the base, we weren’t allowed off base, except on military orders for missions, and we wore obvious American uniforms. Seemed to me it was pretty obvious to see who we were and why we were there. But, we had to follow orders.
    Coming back to the ‘States about a year later, driving down the road, and seeing a Mexican flag painted proudly all over the back window of someone’s truck as I drove down the road actually did get me thoroughly ticked off for a good five minutes. I didn’t do anything besides seething, but we can safely say I felt it rather an affront.
    I cannot say that I have ever asked any other current or former service-members about their sentiments, but given the number of people who’ve deployed and the fact that sometimes the Hispanic populace lives within a few miles of military installations, I wouldn’t be the least surprised if others have been through similar experiences.
    While to some, flying both flags might seem absurd, it might help convey the idea that perhaps a group of people might not have aggressive ideas in mind.

    I would say that it’d be nice to even hear someone sing the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish if they must, but I don’t honestly know how I’d react to that if I wasn’t suggesting it.
    I will say though, that going Mass at a parish where there’s a grocery store with a definite priority on Spanish right across the road..doesn’t help make the case for accepting a new country.
    I once commented to a former choir director about how, given the Church’s official Latin language and the knowledge that Spanish is derived from Latin, I thought it quite annoying that the Hispanic populace couldn’t simply use Latin for Mass, but persisted with a Spanish version of the typical “humdrum” Novus Ordo. I thought it insane when he commented that a fair number of the Spanish-speaking populace..spoke only comparatively poor Spanish. I found myself wondering if some of them could speak anything useful.

    It would also help if the bishops wouldn’t be so willing to offer some “friendship” Mass right on the border. For all that they keep insisting they “aren’t political”, they seem to me to go out of their way quite a lot to do anything except contribute to US culture in a positive fashion.
    Half the time they speak even obliquely about immigration, I can’t help but expect a subtle insinuation of racism if I don’t do as they ask right now. Then again, though I typically think well of Bishop Chaput, I felt like he handily smacked me in the face with his comment about his ethnic backgr0und some time ago. ..And here I thought we should be color-blind…..

    Oh well…..

  99. Indulgentiam says:

    Thank you for the apology. I will offer you one in return. If I have in anyway misinterpreted you I am sorry.
    I am NOT a member of la raza. That is a George Soros group along the lines of the occupy wall street nuts.(check out the link below) The same way he used gullible Americans to make a mess, with occupy Wall Street, now he’s using hispanics. When all the hippies where hanging out in the parks saying disgusting things about this country I was doing my part to push back the lies with the truth. I am doing the same here. Too many people are too easily taken in by the race war tactics employed by communists.
    In the groups you are hating are individuals just like you. They only look a little different and speak a different language. If you will take a little time to look beyond your anger at all that is different and see; mothers, fathers, baby’s. All who put their pants, skirts and diapers on the same way, who kiss their babies the same way, love their wives and children same as you, work, love and live much like you. Then the George Soros of this world would fade into obscurity.
    Not all hispanics are Mexican. I am Cuban. I believe I mentioned that. Cinco de mayo has nothing whatever to do with me. That is the problem with your vantage point. Your standing so far away all you see is the group. Get in a little closer. Strike up a conversation.
    Neither I nor any family member has ever flown a Cuban flag. Basically b/c we hate castro’s communist guts Ptoooey! I digress.
    But I know many Catholics who fly the Papal flag and have it on their cars. Bet that doesn’t make you mad though. I agree with you that if your going to fly your countries flag you should put the American flag in a position of higher honor. But hey, the guy whose truck you saw flying a Mexican flag didn’t ask my advice. So I think it mighty unfair of you to blame me for his lack of gratitude to the country that took him in.

    You say:”Then again, though I typically think well of Bishop Chaput, I felt like he handily smacked me in the face with his comment about his ethnic backgr0und some time ago. ..And here I thought we should be color-blind…..
    I’m not color blind, I like color. And I’m not going to listen to anyone who tells me to ignore one of my senses and you shouldn’t either.
    Why are you threatened by someone else’s ethnic background?
    We all have one even you. We are not ashamed of ours any more than you are ashamed of yours. Just because we mention it doesn’t mean with think it’s better. I know I don’t mean it that way. I don’t think the good Bishop does either.
    If you could view someone’s race as eye color or hair color. Just another characteristic given at birth and not chosen, than perhaps it wouldn’t be such a stumbling block to you. I can no more dislike someone for being German than I can for having blue eyes. I like or dislike someone based on what I know of them personally. I do not associate a personal trait with an entire group of people. That’s unhealthy and a slippery slope. Don’t let the Soros of this world push your buttons. And don’t let the sorrows of your past continue to poison your present.
    I came to this country a child. I was educated in the school system. I was told that because I was not born here that I could not call myself an American. I thought, well…that’s true, fair enough. So then what am I? An American of spanish decent was the reply. Fine with me says I. I have viewed myself that way ever since. It is what I was taught in grade school by American teachers. And since I did not want to be impertinent by calling myself that which I was told I was not, I ever after have called my self what those in my adopted country taught me was right in their language. I have no problem with it. Don’t really see why anyone would either.

    I totally agree with you about the spanish masses. They are, in my opinion, the worst invitations to abuse I’ve ever seen. I speak out against them every chance I get. But again the Bishops aren’t asking my advice. I travel to another state for the TLM. I am a lockstep sheep, papist throwback, unreconstructed ossified manualist Catholic American Cuban. Don’t make assumptions about me based on what others do. Judge me on my own merits. My family got loaded onto planes, in tropical Cuba, with nothing but the clothes on our backs, dumped on a cold winter Tarmac in Spain. We new no one their. My mom and dad worked like mules to get us stateside. We followed every immigration protocol and came over legally. My dad bussed tables and worked factories for ten years till he opened a little grocery store. Yes he spoke english, with an accent he never got rid of but he spoke it. My aunts and uncles cleaned and sweated in factories so that their kids could be nurses, cops, lawyers and doctors. Those are the people whose memory we refuse to betray by denying we are Americans of Cuban decent. We love the people we come from just like you.

    The Soros la raza communist machine
    http://humanevents.com/2011/04/02/top-10-reasons-george-soros-is-dangerous/