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Contemporary Catholic Belief and Action


The mission of ARCC is to bring about substantive structural change within the Catholic Church by seeking to institutionalize a collegial understanding of church where decision making is shared and accountability is realized among Catholics of every kind and conditio n.
Once people start to believe change is possible, 
the drive to achieve it accelerates. 
                                          -   Patrick Sullivan, ARCC President
Past and Future Immigrant Church in America

Linh Hoang OFM, PhD
Professor of Religious Studies
Siena College, Loudonville, New York
Linh is an active member of the ARCC Board of Directors
The book The Future of Catholicism (Edited by Patricia O'Connell Killen and Mark Silk. Columbia University Press) describes Catholicism in America as shaped in multiple ways with three significant trends moving into the future: (1) disconnection between and within the hierarchy and laity; (2) a contested Catholic identity both as clearly defined by traditionalists and formulated by progressives; and (3) the varied forms of public Catholicism. 
All of this is negotiated and experienced through the liturgy, political affiliation, hierarchical statements, and cultural debates on gender and sexuality. Even though these issues are not new, it is heightened by the immediacy of the digital world and the intense attention cast over the Church because of public scandals and the staggering clerical abuse crisis. Recently, the ongoing division among the bishops and their support or resistance to Pope Francis are signs that the future of the American Catholic church is definitely fractured. 
Added to these obstacles is the current Covid-19 pandemic. Some churches locked down and went virtual, others just stopped operating altogether. For many, the concern centers on if parishioners will return in-person and will the donations continue to pour in after the pandemic. It is hard to predict since Covid-19 has shaken up every sector of society. Amidst these negative trends and dire predictions, there is still hope, especially with the participation and involvement among various immigrant communities.  
The book gives brief attention to the Latin Americans in the Church and fully neglects to consider the Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Catholics. The AAPI are not only increasing the diversity of the Church but also are sustaining the Church for the future. Where some dioceses have merged parishes and closed others, different immigrant communities such as the Koreans and Vietnamese have built churches and bolstered their communities. The increase in vocations to religious life and the priesthood has been among the AAPI communities. Even though AAPI Catholics are only about 3% of the Catholics in America, their vocation numbers are 8%. Catholicism in America was formed by immigrants and will continue to be shaped by immigrants. This is an important reminder since the pandemic exposed painfully racism within American society.  
The future of Catholicism in America needs to address more directly and honestly racism within the Church. 
The treatment of Black Catholics have been widely recorded in books, articles and films. But the discrimination against Asian Catholics is not well known. In the 1900s, the first Chinese priest brought to the US to minister to Chinese Catholics ended up speaking Cantonese while the parishioners spoke Mandarin. Naturally, he was removed several months after his arrival. Understanding the languages and cultures of the various Asian and Pacific Island communities is crucial for ministry. This is ever more important today where priests are brought into parishes that they have no cultural or linguistic understanding of the people. Many AAPI feel that they are not fully accepted since many are asked if they still practice their “native” religion. These are but a few examples that highlights how Asians are treated because of their physical appearance, language, and culture. 
For many AAPI Catholics, the pandemic greatly affected them since the political leaders of the US labeled the virus the “Chinese flu.” The adverse effect was the tremendous increase in the attack and harassment against AAPI people. The Stop AAPI Hate website estimated a 300% increase in reported hate crimes against Asians. Since the 1970s, the US healthcare system has recruited enormously from the Philippines a predominantly Catholic country.  These nurses and doctors are on the frontline of the pandemic and also dying disproportionately from covid19.  The Church needs to not only recognize this hatred against AAPIs but also be active in raising awareness.  
Asian and Pacific Island Catholics in America brings a rich history from their home country. Their ancestral traditions shape their experiences in America. AAPI will continue to participate but need the Church to respond to support their faith and spiritual development. The future of Catholicism in America includes an AAPI Catholic story which melds the past to the present in hope of a rich future where the Gospel message of compassion and inclusion of all people is the reality of Catholicism in America.
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church


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Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, ARCC,

PO Box 6512, Helena, MT 59604-6512