The tumultuous period of the 1960s reflect an era of change and renegotiation of the power dynamics in the United States. While forging an ethno-nationalist identity, the historical agents of the Chicano Movement also struggled with some of their identifying characteristics and those characteristics impact on their activism. The most notable internal conflict with the Chicanos’ construction of identity was the role of their faith and its physical manifestation: the Catholic Church. Through the external movements of notable leaders, such as César Chávez, Ricardo Cruz, and Reies Lopez-Tijerina, the role of religion in a movement that is typically considered secular was notable. These leaders questioned the use of resources by the Church on behalf of the Chicanos and demanded that the Church serve, along with the movement, in their pursuit for equality. Chicano leaders established a precedent for internal changes via Chicano priests and religious Chicanas within the Church. As criticism of the Catholic Church by external forces allowed for ample space for internal members of the system to advocate for change on the basis of the protests. Members of the movement pressured the Catholic Church to support its Chicana constituents were necessary to elicit change from the Catholic Church in its support of Chicano constituents. Each group within the Chicano political movement shared demands of the Church to utilize native clergy, reconsider the use of their resources, and serve their constituents’ physical and not just their spiritual needs. Aside from this reciprocal relationship, these Chicanos political leaders forced the Catholic Church to act on the declarations of Vatican II by relying on liberationist concepts. These concepts sought to establish a focus on the impoverished and to treat the spiritual needs and earthly needs of the poor simultaneously. The Chicano Movement demanded that the Catholic Church become involved with issues of social justice and provide the Chicano Movement with a greatly needed moral justification.
|Commitee:||Lerner, Saul, St. Jean, Wendy, Tobin, Kathleen|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||MAI 56/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Religious history, American history, History, Hispanic American studies|
|Keywords:||Catholicism, Chicano, Civil Rights Movement|
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