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the welcome mat

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 30, 2007

An English bishop is talking about the proper attitude toward immigrants.

You already know what he's going to say, don't you? Immigrants should be welcomed. We should open our doors to them, greet them, make them feel accepted. Right.

Wrong. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has a problem with these particular immigrants.

Oh, because there Muslims, right? And they're likely to undermine the Christian heritage of the British people?

Wrong again. They're Catholics. Disproportionately active Catholics. They come from Poland, bringing the habits of a pious people. Old-fashioned habits, like the blessing of homes at Christmas and food baskets at Easter, the Lenten Lamentations, the Forty Hours Devotion, the Divine Mercy prayers.

They don't speak the Queen's English, either. But that's not really the problem. Other immigrants have trouble with the language. The Poles are a special problem.

However, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said: "I'm quite concerned that the Poles are creating a separate church in Britain. I would want them to be part of the Catholic life of this country.

If Polish Catholics would just act like British Catholics, maybe the cardinal would be more comfortable. And by the same logic, if a group of French chefs move to England, we should make sure that their culinary offerings blend in with the ordinary standards of British cuisine.

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2008 6:12 PM ET USA

    Ask Archbishop Burke in Saint Louis about the dangers of a separate Polish Church.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 31, 2007 11:00 PM ET USA

    If Polish Catholics act just like British Catholics they'd contracept themselves out of existence. Wouldn't that please the good Cardinal?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 31, 2007 12:35 PM ET USA

    Damn you, Psuedodionysius! I spilled my coffee laughing at your post!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 30, 2007 6:20 PM ET USA

    The Cardinal has just made a very eloquent defence of the Latin Mass. That way both English and Polish Catholics could worship in the same language --even adding in a prayer to St Michael the Archangel after Mass to combat the dangers of Global Warming er... Satan (come to think of it, isn't Satan the ultimate Global Warmer?) Next thing those uppity Poles will want is their own Pope.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 30, 2007 4:57 PM ET USA

    GREAT analogy, Di! Perfect!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 30, 2007 3:03 PM ET USA

    How could we ever have imagined that JPII's own Church of origin would be essentially rejected by another? And in only 2 years. It can't be just those wonderful old Polish customs that only enrich faithful Catholic life. British nervous infidelity must be involved. I wonder what the Cdl. will do re the German Pope's attempt to restore the old Mass. Maybe O'Connor and Blair should just go Anglican and let the Pope start over in the UK.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 30, 2007 1:33 PM ET USA

    What the English Church needs is precisely a bit of orthodoxy, more piety and devotions and, above all, prayer. Of course, it wouldn't hurt a whit if the Holy Father sent Cdl Pell to Westminster after he gave Murph an early retirement. The Poles may be exactly what the doctor ordered to instill some catholicity into the Catholic Church in England. Pray for us, OLoW.

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