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    Book Description:

    Chicano Catholicism-both as a popular religion and a foundation for community organizing-has, over the past century, inspired Chicano resistance to external forces of oppression and discrimination including from other non-Mexican Catholics and even the institutionalized church. Chicano Catholics have also used their faith to assert their particular identity and establish a kind of cultural citizenship.

    Based exclusively on original research and sources, Mario T. García here offers the first major historical study to explore the various dimensions of the role of Catholicism in Chicano history in the twentieth century. This is also one of the first significant studies in the still limited field of Chicano religious history.

    Topics range from how early Chicano Catholic intellectuals and civil rights leaders were influenced by Catholic Social Doctrine, to the role that popular religion has played in the lives of ordinary men and women in both rural and urban areas. García also examines faith-based Chicano community movements like Católicos Por La Raza in the 1960s and the Sanctuary movement in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

    While Latino/a history and culture has been, for the most part, inextricably linked with the tenets and practices of Catholicism, there has been very little written, until recently, about Chicano Catholic history. García helps to fill that void and explore the impact-both positive and negative-that the Catholic experience has had on the Chicano community.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79409-2
    Subjects: Religion, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    (pp. IX-XII)
  4. INTRODUCTION In Search of Chicano Catholic History
    (pp. 1-28)

    AS A STUDENT at the University of Texas at El Paso (then named Texas Western College) in the early to mid-1960s, I drove my grandmother Nama to 6:30 Mass every Sunday morning. These years coincided with Vatican Council II, but its liturgical reforms had not yet become evident. The council (1962–1965) had been called by Pope John XXIII to revitalize and breathe some fresh air into the Catholic Church. The Mass I took Nama to was a quiet one, with few in attendance, always the same people. Every Sunday we sat in the same pew at St. Patrick’s Cathedral...

  5. ONE Fray Angélico Chávez, Religiosity, and New Mexican Oppositional Historical Narrative
    (pp. 29-52)

    I WANT TO begin my exploration of Chicano Catholic history by focusing on a remarkable Catholic priest and intellectual whose work encompasses most of the twentieth century: Fray Angélico Chávez of New Mexico. Moreover, by beginning with Fray Angélico I am able to introduce the concept of oppositional historical narrative, which, while not directly employed in the other chapters, encompasses the entire text. Indeed, an oppositional historical narrative reflects resistance and affirmation and, in Fray Angélico’s case, Hispano Catholic resistance and affirmation. Commencing with a New Mexico figure is additionally appropriate because this area is one of the foundational locations...

  6. TWO Catholic Social Doctrine and Mexican American Political Thought
    (pp. 53-78)

    IF HISPANOS IN New Mexico into the twentieth century attempted to rethink their ethnic identity and history as a way of responding to their relations with incoming Anglo-Americans—as exemplified by the work of Fray Angélico Chávez—so too were Mexican Americans in other southwestern locations. Revisionist thinking was certainly occurring in Texas, where ethnic and race relations were even more intense than in New Mexico. Texas, of course, possessed a long history of animosities between Mexicans and Anglos, one going back to the Texas Revolution (1836), the Alamo, and the U.S.-Mexico War of the 1840s.¹ Although in the southern...

  7. THREE Recording the Sacred The Federal Writers’ Project and Hispano-Catholic Traditions in New Mexico, 1935–1939
    (pp. 79-110)

    IF THE LINKAGE between Mexican American Catholicism and the public sphere was made by civil rights leaders such as Calleros and Perales, the fact remained that for many Mexicans of Catholic background (irrespective of what terms of ethnic identity they used), popular religious traditions and practices remained the heart of their faith and of their particular form of resistance and affirmation in a new Anglo-American system. This should not imply, however, as perhaps the above epigraph may suggest, that such popular religion is constant and static. It changes or adapts to new circumstances and conditions while preserving the nucleus of...

  8. FOUR The U.S. Catholic Church and the Mexican Cultural Question in Wartime America, 1941–1945
    (pp. 111-130)

    SINCE THE 1970S, the U.S. Catholic Church as an institution has become much more sensitive and aware of Latino cultural traditions, including religious ones as exemplified by the popular religiosity of Hispanos in northern New Mexico. In many parishes serving predominantly Latinos or at least significant numbers of Latinos, the liturgy employs not only the Spanish language or a bilingual format, but also important and innovative elements of Latino music and dance, along with other cultural expressions. Moreover, important religious holidays associated with Latinos and identified with people of Mexican descent, among them the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe...

  9. FIVE Religion in the Chicano Movement Católicos Por La Raza
    (pp. 131-170)

    WHILE THE CHURCH in the 1940s and 1950s attempted on a larger scale than before to address the needs and interests of its growing Mexican American adherents, especially in the Southwest, by the 1960s events and the new protest movements of that politically tumultuous decade outpaced the Church’s efforts. Rather than being proactive, the Church now became defensive and subject to increased criticism by Chicano Catholics. If Mexican American Catholics in an earlier period, as exemplified by the work of Cleofas Calleros and Alonso Perales, labored cooperatively with Church reformers, both inspired by Catholic social doctrine, this new period of...

  10. SIX Padres Chicano Community Priests and the Public Arena
    (pp. 171-206)

    CATÓLICOS POR LA Raza marked a new chapter in Chicano/Church relations not only in Los Angeles, but in other areas of the Southwest as well where the majority of Chicano Catholics resided. Certainly movement activists began to demand more support from the Church for its agenda. In addition, some Chicano Catholic priests and sisters, inspired in part by Católicos as well as by Vatican II and liberation theology, represented what the theologian Harvey Cox in 1967 called the “New Breed in American Churches” and began organizing themselves and functioning as a pressure group within the Church to achieve reforms that...

  11. SEVEN ¡Presente! Father Luis Olivares and the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles A Study of Faith, Ethnic Identity, and Ecumenism
    (pp. 207-250)

    ON A WARM September evening in 1990, a rather large congregation of people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds gathered to honor Father Luis Olivares, the former pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angeles, better known as La Placita Church. Tables were arranged in the public open space by the plaza bandstand adjacent to the Olvera Street marketplace in downtown Los Angeles and directly across from La Placita. Dignitaries such as Mayor Tom Bradley, state representatives who had passed a resolution declaring September 5 Father Olivares Day, city and county officials, who had renamed Olvera Street Father Luis Olivares Street...

  12. EIGHT Contemporary Catholic Popular Religiosity and U.S. Latinos Expressions of Faith and Ethnicity
    (pp. 251-276)

    THE RAPIDLY GROWING U.S. Latino population is having a variety of effects on U.S. culture and institutions. This Latinization, for example, is certainly being felt in religious circles. About 40 percent of all U.S. Catholics are Latinos. In turn, this demographic revolution is forcing the Church to react to the strong element of popular religiosity often associated with Latinos. By popular religiosity, religiosidad popular, I mean two essential factors: (1) that many aspects of Latino Catholicism are administered and controlled not by clerics or the institutional church, but by the people themselves in what can be considered civil religion or...

  13. Reflections
    (pp. 277-288)

    AS I NOTED in the introduction, I grew up as a Chicano Catholic. It was and still is part of my identity. It isn’t all of who I am, but it’s an important part. This book on Chicano Catholic history reflects this aspect of my identity. I don’t have a problem with this. Religion is not something I am ashamed of. Am I a practicing Catholic? I attend Mass. I pray. There is no question that I’m guided by my Catholic socialization and, to borrow from Father Andrew Greeley, my Catholic imagination.¹ Catholicism has influenced my values and my politics....

  14. Notes
    (pp. 289-342)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 343-360)
  16. Index
    (pp. 361-366)