More than half of all children in California are Latino according to the latest census figures. Barely one-quarter of children in the state are non-Hispanic whites. Needless to say, most of those Latino children are Catholics.
Here is a challenge for the bishops of California - and Texas, and Arizona, and Florida, and New Mexico, and Nevada. Given the anti-immigrant fervor at the heart of today's GOP, it is highly unlikely that these Latino children are going to grow up to be Republicans. But, no where is it written that Latino Democrats cannot also be pro-life. In California, of course, with its "live and let live" social attitudes, the emergence of a pro-life Democratic Party is a remote possibility, although the emergence of a significant number of pro-life Democrats among this growing constituency might make a big difference. In Texas, where the state Democratic Party has been close to moribund, the possibility of registering and educating hundreds of thousands of Latino Catholic voters could upset the apple carts of both parties. If the bishops were to laucnh registration and education drives that said: Hey, join whichever party you want, but insist that your candidates be pro-life if they are Dems and pro-social justice if they are Republicans.
The growth of Latino Catholic voters is the most significant demographic fact in contemporary politics. If we can help them to craft a politics that is more in line with Caritas in Veritate and other Catholic social teachings, that could be huge. But, we have to try.