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U.S./ Buchanan, Latinos and the Persecution of Christians

Pat Buchanan documents the persecution of Christians in Middle Eastern countries, but he and many conservative Catholics seem to sharply oppose Hispanic immigration in the U.S.

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I met Pat Buchanan – pundit, journalist, editor, controversialist voice of American conservativism – over thirty years ago when I was assigned to celebrate the Tridentine Mass at the parish where I was in residence in Washington, DC. I was not surprised to see that Buchanan preferred to attend the Mass as it was celebrated before the Second Vatican Council, and I was glad for the opportunity (at the after-Mass “coffee and doughnuts” get-together) to ask him a question that puzzled me about the apparently anti-Hispanic views of many Catholic American conservatives, as reflected in their discussions about illegal immigration.

How could they, as Catholics, as traditionalist Catholics (as evident in their love for the Tridentine Mass), not see in the ever-growing Hispanic presence in the Church something positive that could, if handled adequately and fairly, strengthen the Church’s response to the secularist agnosticism of so much of the current dominant culture?

This issue came to my mind again this week reading the column by Buchanan in the latest issue of The American Conservative magazine (July 2011). In his column entitled “Thrown to the Lions,” Buchanan documents the persecution of Christians in Middle Eastern countries where the United States, in the name of bringing democracy to the people, has removed or is fighting to remove a dictatorship where Christians have been able to practice freely their faith. Buchanan quotes the words of an Anglican bishop, a Palestinian, who told Tony Blair that if the “allies” invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein, “you will be responsible for emptying Iraq, the homeland of Abraham, of Christians.”

Indeed, as the Financial Times notes: “After almost 2000 years, Iraq Christians now openly contemplate extinction. Some of their prelates even counsel flight.” The “liberation” of Iraq led by the United States has brought on Iraq’s Christians their greatest calamity since the time of Christ.