U.S. Archbishop Reflects on Spiritual Contribution of Latino Immigrants

May Help Country “Recover Its Soul”

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DENVER, AUG. 29, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colorado said last week that the arrival of Latinos to the United States may help the country to "recover its soul."



The Archbishop expressed this conviction at a meeting to which he invited, among others, bishops of the southern border with Mexico and businessmen of the area.

Archbishop Chaput, who is also pesident of the U.S. International Commission for Religious Freedom, said that "North American life has lost its soul" and that "the Latin Americans can change this."

Addressing businessmen and public opinion leaders of the southern United States, the archbishop insisted that, rather than an obstacle, Latin American immigration should be considered an opportunity for the nation to grow spiritually.

The Latino population has grown exponentially in the United States over the last decade. According to the latest White House survey, it is now the first ethnic minority of the country, surpassing the African-American population.

According to statistics, there are 42 million Latinos in the United States, not counting the illegal immigrants, who also work, produce and consume, but are not reflected in the population census.

The archbishop said that 31 percent of the Denver population is of Hispanic-American origin. In ten years it has grown by 73 percent.

"The whole of North America is changing and the Latino population will shape the nature of this change. The Latin Americans can bring a Catholic sense of family, of community, a Catholic love for life, generosity and respect for the dignity of the person," he said.