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PADRES

RICHARD EDWARD MARTÍNEZ
Copyright Date: 2005
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/706446
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    PADRES
    Book Description:

    From the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to the 1960s, Mexican American Catholics experienced racism and discrimination within the U.S. Catholic church, as white priests and bishops maintained a racial divide in all areas of the church's ministry. To oppose this religious apartheid and challenge the church to minister fairly to all of its faithful, a group of Chicano priests formed PADRES (Padres Asociados para Derechos Religiosos, Educativos y Sociales, or Priests Associated for Religious, Educational, and Social Rights) in 1969. Over the next twenty years of its existence, PADRES became a powerful force for change within the Catholic church and for social justice within American society.

    This book offers the first history of the founding, activism, victories, and defeats of PADRES. At the heart of the book are oral history interviews with the founders of PADRES, who describe how their ministries in poor Mexican American parishes, as well as their own experiences of racism and discrimination within and outside the church, galvanized them into starting and sustaining the movement. Richard Martínez traces the ways in which PADRES was inspired by the Chicano movement and other civil rights struggles of the 1960s and also probes its linkages with liberation theology in Latin America. He uses a combination of social movement theory and organizational theory to explain why the group emerged, flourished, and eventually disbanded in 1989.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79704-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. ONE INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-3)

    A review of the major works on the Chicano Movement¹ reveals the expected: people struggling for political rights, better education, land, and labor rights. It is rare to find any mention of the Catholic Church, which is rather striking given that more than 90 percent of Mexican Americans are Catholic. The lack of attention suggests that the church had no significant role during the Chicano Movement era, which is far from true. This book seeks to place the Catholic Church in the historical context of the Chicano era. It shows that the church played a role in the movement and...

  4. TWO THE MEXICAN AMERICAN CATHOLIC EXPERIENCE
    (pp. 4-12)

    The Mexican American Catholic experience cannot be appreciated without an understanding of the historical implications of the imposition of particular foreign social structures. Since the sixteenth century Spanish Catholicism dominated religion in Ibero-America. Until the mid-nineteenth century in the Southwest territory the membership and leadership of the Catholic Church was predominantly Spanish and Mexican. Churches were governed by the hierarchy in Mexico.

    In 1848 the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made official the violent imperial seizure of half of Mexico’s northern territory, which then became the U.S. Southwest. Institutions throughout this territory were colonized by the United States,...

  5. THREE THE ORIGINS OF PADRES
    (pp. 13-50)

    PADRES emerged after years of slow, steady agitation punctuated by many significant events and the experiences and ideas of the men who started it. I am reminded of an interview that I conducted with a PADRES founder and the organization’s first national chairman, Fr. Ralph Ruiz. He asked me to “be true to the spirit of the times” in my telling of their story.¹ He was talking about the 1960s, years of social ferment and militancy and years that reflected the spirit that gave birth to PADRES.

    The courageous and prophetic Mexican American priests who founded PADRES were typically born...

  6. FOUR PADRES: In the Beginning
    (pp. 51-83)

    Late in summer 1969 in San Antonio, a frustrated but undaunted thirty-three-year-old Fr. Ralph Ruiz surveyed the scene: Mexican American Catholics were poor, oppressed by society, and abused and neglected by the church. His heart and mind could no longer bear it, so he decided to do something. As he recalled, “I said, ‘Hell, I’m going to try because my people need it. They are the ones who are suffering. If not, this shit will continue.’”¹ He thought the only solution was organized resistance.

    Acting on his own initiative, he decided to call a Texas-wide meeting of concerned priests who...

  7. FIVE PADRES INSURGENCY
    (pp. 84-125)

    PADRES used several pressure tactics to gain influence in the church. Directly engaging the bishops at the NCCB and at the archdiocesan level through formal meetings was common. During the early years, according to Father Rodríguez, PADRES used labor union tactics: “Ask for more than you hope to get, negotiate back down, but hopefully get what you wanted in the first place. There was also a kind of good cop, bad cop approach, though after a while most of the sessions became bad cop, bad cop.”¹ In time, several PADRES members attended the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a Saul Alinsky...

  8. SIX SOCIAL ACTIVISM AND ITS COST
    (pp. 126-137)

    Many PADRES members suffered personal consequences as a result of their activism on behalf of the oppressed. Father Romero suggests that some PADRES may have hurt their chances for advancement: “It costs. It costs people perceiving you as a radical or as a political priest. Saul Alinsky in his first book,Rules for Radicals, says if you want to be in this kind of stuff, and if you’re a priest, you have to renounce explicitly and up front any hope of ever being a bishop. If it is in your plan, then you cannot play this game.”¹

    For some, the...

  9. SEVEN THEORY AND ANALYSIS: The Emergence of PADRES
    (pp. 138-147)

    How and under what conditions did PADRES emerge? To answer this question, we must understand that PADRES was an intraorganizational social movement—that is, organized, sustained, collective action that sought to make meaningful changes to the social relations (e.g., laws, policies, and cultural practices) within a large organization having institutional status. The defining characteristic of this type of movement is that those who lead it are formal members of the organization and those for whom they struggle are the organization’s clientele. One famous example is the Latin American liberation theology movement. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, several thousand...

  10. APPENDIX I ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES
    (pp. 148-152)
  11. APPENDIX II METHODOLOGY
    (pp. 153-154)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 155-171)
  13. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 172-175)
  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 176-191)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 192-198)