Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hispanics Leaving The Church in Florida?

After commenting in one of my last posts about how people often misunderstand Catholics' devotion to Mary, I found an article from The St. Peterburg Times, linked from Insight Scoop that mentions this very fallacy.

Here is a quote by Rev. Jose Luis Correa (a Pentecostal pastor in Dover, Florida) from the article. He is actively recruiting among Hispanics for his church. His assertion is that Catholics worship idols.

"We don't worship idols," he (Correa) said.
The article goes on to say, "Catholic priests bristle at the accusation and say Protestant evangelizers are tearing Hispanics away from their culture and faith.
'There's almost like a whole campaign to bring down the blessed Mother like she's the anti-Christ,' said Father Carlos Rojas of St. Clement Catholic Church in Plant City."

Of course they"bristle" -- as do I. In one response to this aggressive recruiting one priest, Father Demetrio Lorden, is holding "evangelism Mass" every Monday night in houses and mobile home camps of this immigrant community.
You can read the article in its entirety here. In the meantime, here is a bit more:

"Catholic priests like Lorden are responding with outreach and Bible studies, hoping to hold on to this large and growing population.
'[Hispanic immigrants] need to know someone is there caring for them,' said Lorden, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe church. 'But one of the things that pushed me to do that fervently and constantly was because ... other churches and denominations are visiting them and proselytizing them.'
Sometimes Lorden's home-based Masses are the only contact workers have with the Catholic church, said Alejandro Lopez, 34, a construction worker who attended Lorden's service on a recent Monday night."

There were a couple of insightful comments that I include with thanks to their authors (who are noted).

Posted by: Wolf N. Paul | Tuesday, January 01, 2008
As American Catholics, we should do our best to reach out to the Hispanic community, so they do not lose the Faith. Although I understand that Protestants have their convictions and do love the Lord, they ultimately offer up many degrees of error and heresy to those who are already member's of Christ's Church. They "protest"...against what? It is against the Church started by their Lord. Let us pray for unity.

Posted by: Travis | Tuesday, January 01, 2008
(parts of his comments) Catholics who live in the US need to develop a "geopolitical" vision. What if, within a generation or two, our Hispanic immigrant brethren help us make the States a Catholic country. . . . . The Hispanic immigrants are the hope of the Church in the US, and of the US itself.

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