Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cormac Kicks the Poles

Days after new stats reported that, aided by a significant influx of Eastern Europeans, Catholic church attendance in Britain had surpassed that of the nation's Anglicans, the primate of England and Wales has brought his Tony Blair Conversion Honeymoon to a screeching halt by accusing the Polish newcomers of "creating a separate church":
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, urged the Polish community to do more to learn English and integrate into local parishes, claiming the Catholic Church in the UK was in danger of dividing along ethnic lines as the number of Polish-speaking churches rose.

Leading Polish community figures said they felt "violated" and "spiritually raped" by his words and called for talks on the issue....

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.

"I would hope those responsible for the Polish church here, and the Poles themselves, will be aware that they should become a part of local parishes as soon as possible when they learn enough of the language."

Despite the archbishop's also using his Christmas message to appeal to the nation to be more welcoming to immigrants, Grazyna Sikorska, of the Polish Catholic Mission for England and Wales, said the community had been upset.

She told the Catholic newspaper The Tablet: "How can he demand that we stop praying in Polish? Is it a sin? I feel my inner conscience has been violated, leaving me spiritually raped."

Fr Tadeusz Kukla, the vicar-delegate for Poles in England and Wales, said: "If we lose our national identity, we lose everything."
Lest anyone think that the Brits have a monopoly on history's lessons, keep in mind what happened on this side of the Pond back in the 1890s, when the (Irish/German descent) US bishops sought to speed up the assimilation of Polish immigrants by attempting to block their culture from the (Irish/German-dominated) ecclesiastical mainstream...

...which strategy resulted in the creation of an actual Polish "separate church" and, thus, schism.

(To say nothing of how, in their homeland, the Poles proudly -- and unabashedly -- kept the faith alive and public through decade after decade of unabated Communist persecution.)

Murphy-O'Connor turned 75 in August and awaits a successor. Were today's news taking place in the last pontificate, an announcement would likely have appeared by tomorrow morning.

That is, if Wojtyla and Dziwisz could've held themselves that long.