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The Next America: Getting Closer

January 21, 2024 Frontpage No Comments

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

This week, Nicholas DiMarzio, retired bishop of Brooklyn, suggested in OSV News that the U.S. legalize “as many as possible” of the millions of illegal aliens now residing in the United States.

The title of his article, “Compromise: An Essential Element of Politics,” was somewhat misleading, because the bishop wasn’t advocating compromise at all. “The best way to fix our broken immigration system,” he writes, “is to examine it holistically, and repair all parts of it…including legalization of the undocumented” (“Never call them illegal,” reads the USCCB’s Eleventh Commandment).

Bottom line: Bishop DiMarzio embraces the doctrine of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.): there aren’t enough Americans, so we need to import new ones.

Of course, Schumer applauds a major cause of America’s stagnant population growth — the sixty million abortions since Roe v. Wade. When DiMarzio, appeared with Cardinal Dolan last month to discuss immigration, they didn’t mention abortion; instead, they identified a different cause: the fact that New York’s Catholic population was declining because nobody was having babies.

They both went on to advocate more immigrants, legal and otherwise, to fill all of those empty pews.

In reaching that conclusion, both Dolan and DiMarzio agree with Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, a tireless advocate for illegal aliens. A native of Mexico, Gomez has an ardent love of his homeland and his people. He has testified frequently on Capitol Hill in favor of various amnesty-related issues, always in the name of the Catholic Church. He promotes the same theme before various groups of wealthy Catholics around the country.
In 2012, he described his vision of “The Next America” at a conference in Napa Valley.

For Archbishop Gomez, the “Next America” will be decidedly better than the current one: “Our culture is changing,” he said.  “We have a legal structure that allows, and even pays for, the killing of babies in the womb…. Our courts and legislatures are redefining the natural institutions of marriage and the family. We have an elite culture…that is openly hostile to religious faith.”

All too true. So, what is to blame for this travesty? Pope Benedict XVI identifies the “Dictatorship of Relativism.” In Gomez’s view, however, the culprit is Old America, specifically “the idea that Americans are descended from only white Europeans and that our culture is based only on the individualism, work ethic and rule of law that we inherited from our Anglo-Protestant forebears.”

For Gomez, our national heritage somehow encourages “a wrong-headed notion that ‘real Americans’ are of some particular race, class, religion or ethnic background”; it smacks of “nativism” and “bigotry.”

Such prejudice, he continues, primarily harms not Catholics, but Mexicans — the majority of whom are illegal aliens. “America is in need of renewal,” says Gomez.

The solution? Amnesty, and more Mexican immigration. Mexican immigrants “will bring a new, youthful, entrepreneurial spirit of hard work to our economy.” They “are not afraid of hard work or sacrifice [and] the vast majority of them believe in Jesus Christ and love our Catholic Church.  They share traditional American values of faith, family and community.”

Two Prelates, Two Centuries, Two Views

The approach of Archbishop Gomez strikes a stark contrast to that of James Cardinal Gibbons, the Catholic Primate of America 130 years ago.

In the nineteenth century, German Catholics came to America by the millions, in waves following the revolutionary unrest of 1848 and the unification of Germany in 1871 that brought on Bismarck’s persecution of Catholics during the Kulturkampf.

With them came heroic religious orders and devout laymen like those who founded Der Wanderer, which was published in German into the 1950s (and was banned by Hitler, who stopped its distribution to thousands of Germans in the 1930s).

For decades, those newly arrived German-American Catholics refused to give up their language. In his massive study of American identity, Who Are We, the late Harvard historian Samuel P. Huntington writes that for years, “[a]mong the original British settlers antagonism existed towards [the newly-arrived] German-Americans, focused largely on the efforts of the latter to continue to use their language in churches and schools and other public institutions and events.”

Cardinal Gibbons strongly opposed the millions of German-speaking American Catholics who wanted to preserve their language, their culture, and their clergy. He believed that their position would invite the charge that “the Catholic Church…exists in America as a foreign institution, and that she is, consequently, a menace to the existence of the nation.”

Naturally, like Gomez’s Mexicans, Gibbons’ Germans were “shining examples of industry, energy, love of home, conservatism, and attachment to their religion,” but Gibbons insisted that they assimilate nonetheless. President Benjamin Harrison warmly commended the Cardinal’s patriotism.

“Of all men, the Bishops of the Church should be in full harmony with the political institutions and sentiments of the country,” he told the cardinal.

How times have changed. Has any American bishop ever banned Spanish Masses? Today, most dioceses can’t provide enough of them. Cardinal Gibbons demanded assimilation; Archbishop Gomez rejects it. Gibbons, fearing the allegation of anti-Americanism, seeks the approval of President Harrison, who approves of Catholics as an integral part of the religious culture of the country that would inform and guide the government.

Does Archbishop Gomez seek the approval of Joe Biden? Hardly. But curiously, our shepherds were harsh critics of President Trump during his term, on immigration (he enforced the Rule of Law) and much more.

In short, Gibbons loved America; Gomez says it’s over.

What Comes Next?

Archbishop Gomez invokes history: Catholic missionaries arrived on the continent over 150 years before the Pilgrims. Catholics are as much a part of our history as Protestants, he insists. He envisions a Catholic renaissance, led by Hispanics, inspiring a “new kind of American patriotism.” He denounces racism, but not the racists found in La Raza and the other hate groups who support a reconquista of the American Southwest, a message which USCCB Immigration Chairman Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso often seems to resonate.

Gomez praises “the glorious legacy of Hispanic literature and art,” deftly averting his gaze from the violent crime that engulfs Mexico and the politically connected drug gangs that have murdered thousands, hundreds of priests, and even the Cardinal Archbishop of Guadalajara.

And yet, as Dr. Thomas Sowell observes, those family-loving Mexicans bring their culture with them, and in Mexico the corruption of the political and business elites trickles down to the lowest campesino.

When I translate for the police in the Shenandoah Valley, the sheriff says, “Get their hands out of their pockets.” He thinks they’re reaching for a weapon. In fact, they are reaching for bribe money. All their lives they have had to pay off every man in uniform that they have ever encountered.

So, when the illegals arrive stateside, having broken one law already, no one tells them “Thou Shalt Not Steal” when it comes to Social Security numbers, or “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness” when applying for free welfare, education, and medical benefits.

For Catholic leaders Dolan, Gómez, and Seitz, this is the flock that is poised to be the future of the American Catholic Church: While 30 million Americans are ex-Catholics, Hispanics constitute a majority of American Catholics under 30. Whether or not the Next America is Hispanic, it appears that the Next American Catholic Church will be. And if Archbishop Gomez has his way, the Next America will be Greater Mexico.

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