This not at all to say that such advocacy will or should displace the Church's concern with life and family issues; indeed, as discussed above, the growing Latino congregations seem more receptive to the Church's counsel on these scores than do their Anglo co-religionists. In order to resonate with this part of the flock, however, the Church will need to amplify and make more concrete its advocacy for a social safety net and for a humane immigration policy. In doing so, the American Catholic Church will simultaneously be more in step with the views of this growing contingent of the faithful and truer to the comprehensive nature of its Christian calling. This is a combination that should be welcomed by Catholics of all stripes.
J. Matthew Wilson is associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of public opinion, elections, religion and politics, and political psychology. He has published articles in a variety of professional journals, including The American Journal of Political Science and The Journal of Politics. He is the editor of From Pews to Polling Places: Faith and Politics in the American Religious Mosaic and is currently at work on two book projects -- one on the political behavior of American Catholics and another, entitled The Blame Game: Political Sophistication and Causal Attribution in American Politics, dealing with how citizens decide who to hold accountable for social and political outcomes.