Damian Thompson makes very important points.
The official organs of the Catholic Church in this country have long been out of step with opinion in the pews, and doubtless in the presbyteries once their doors are closed, about immigration. Of course, it can sometimes be necessary for them to be out of step. But it certainly isn’t in this case.
So one hopes that the Polish Mission’s recent bewailing of the lapsation rate among Polish immigrants to Britain (only one in ten of whom is a regular Mass-goer, compared to eight out of ten people in Poland) might get the message through: many of the Poles are not coming here in order to “enrich” or “renew” the Church, but precisely in order to get away from Her.
Similarly, in America, consider the words of the Catechism, “Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens” (paragraph 2241). You can’t do that by entering illegally, or by working illegally, or by evading taxes.
In Britain, in America, and elsewhere, the sooner the Bishops stop urging their flock to accept the loss of their jobs, the running down of their wages and working conditions, and the confinement of their children and grandchildren to the bottom of the heap by means of de facto State bilingualism, the better. No, these things are not somehow to the good of the Church.
In fact, far from Hispanics’ being the great hope of American Catholicism (any more than Poles are the great hope of British Catholicism), Latin America has never been a very Catholic place, with slight if any Mass-going majorities, huge numbers of the unbaptised, rampant syncretism and surviving paganism, and a very heavy dependence on (historically European, these days usually North American) missionary priests. No wonder that the strongest opponents of the present levels of immigration, of any amnesty, and of the erosion of English in American life, are themselves traditional Catholics. We could do with something similar over here.