ERIC Number: ED171506
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-May-2
Reference Count: 0
Ethnic Minorities Within a Religious Institution: The Case of the Chicano and the Church in California.
Soto, Antonio R.
Spanish-speaking people constitute almost one-fourth of the American Catholic Church's membership, yet they have had little representation in the structure of the Church. In the 130 years of interaction of the Chicano population with the Church, little indigenous leadership has emerged from its ranks; of the 58,301 American priests today, less than 200 are Chicano. A study of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Mexican American people directed historical and sociological analysis toward the ethnic stratification prevailing in the Church and the resulting non-participation of Mexican Americans in its structure. Covering the years from 1848 when the United States took over the entire Southwest to the present, the study focused primarily on northern California. The study showed that the Church has reflected the value system of the dominant society, thus presenting political and cultural barriers to the aspirations of the Mexican which tended to alienate him from the Church. Although for many the Church existed as an integrative force which helped individuals survive the chaotic conditions of life, by and large its approach had always been paternalistic and its structured clericalism an obstacle to any meaningful participation by Chicanos. The Church must search for a new understanding on which to base itself, a model which can bring about a more effective pluralism of cultures, the indigenization of its leadership, and new forms of ministry which will provide participation by all. (Author/DS)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: California (North); Chicanos
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference on Ethnic and Minority Studies (7th, La Crosse, Wisconsin, May 2-5, 1979); Not available in hard copy due to author's preference