Hispanic Catholics: change the Church or be changed?

Hispanic Catholics: change the Church or be changed?

Saturday’s Boston Globe weekly religion article was entitled “Hispanics changing face of Catholicism”, but they might as well have titled it “Hispanic Catholics need to get with the program.” According to the Catholic experts at a forum on the subject at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Hispanic Catholics are too conservative and need to become more like the majority of American Catholics.

On the one hand, the article notes that certain rituals accreted onto Catholicism can become a distraction from the faith, like the quinceañera.

Even [Fr. Terence] Moran [pastor of St. Rose of Lima parish in Chelsea] has had differences with his parishioners over the quinceañera, a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday, considered by Hispanics a milestone in maturity. To Moran, it is a holy pain, an event featuring “all the bad stuff about a wedding … without anything serious [theologically] to back it up.”

“I think very often it gives the wrong message [that] all of a sudden, you’re 15 and a woman,” inspiring in some girls rebellious behavior, sexual promiscuity, and even teen pregnancy, he said.

Moran keeps the ones he celebrates low-key, with a simple blessing of the girl at Mass, offending parishioners who want a more elaborate event with a special Mass and rented hall.

Yet, when it comes to authentic aspects of their Catholic faith and worship, that’s where it becomes too much.

Other Hispanic worship habits, while hardly controversial, “reflect what Catholicism was like in the United States in the 1940s and ’50s” and are not as common as they once were, said [Hosffman] Ospino [coordinator of Hispanic ministry at Boston College]. He cites the novena, a prayer said over nine days.

Too conservative for America

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