Masses for specific ethnic groups should be reduced in the interests of integration, a leading psychiatrist has suggested.
Questioning the wisdom of Dublin’s Polish community having its own church – St Audeon’s Church on High Street – Prof. Patricia Casey told The Irish Catholic she thinks it would be healthier if “there would be no church identified with a particular ethnic group – they would all be shared in common”.
Prof. Casey said it might help ward off risks of ghettoization if Masses in minority languages were held occasionally without being routinely offered on Sundays.
“This could be a good way of doing it,” she said, “so they would balance the needs of people to reasonably regularly meet their own community at a Mass, but they would also have other services in other languages in that Church so it wouldn’t be identified with any one ethnic group.
“These Masses in other rites and other languages wouldn’t be every Sunday,” she continued, “but would be maybe monthly or fortnightly so as to encourage people to mix with the indigenous population – to make friends and get to know the indigenous population.”
Prof. Casey expressed concerns about what such a failure to mix might lead to. “I certainly think there is a risk if people don’t assimilate with the local population, at even the most basic level of being able to speak basic English and read basic English, that people will become ghettoised,” she said, continuing, “If you don’t speak the language of the people around you and you only speak your own language, you’re inevitably going to socialise and mix with a very limited group of people.”
Pointing out that immigrants with poor English are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting medical treatment, Prof. Casey said, “I’ve about 300 outpatients at the moment and I’ve about 20 of those who would need interpreters.”
Psychological treatments are not an option for some patients from countries such as Sudan, owing to the unlikeliness of there being a psychologist available with the necessary language skills, she explained, adding that even with the aid of interpreters, explaining pharmacological treatments can be difficult.