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PADRES

The National Chicano Priest Movement

By Richard Edward Martínez

Publication Year: 2005

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.

Published by: University of Texas Press

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One. INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-3

A review of the major works on the Chicano Movement 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...

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Two. THE MEXICAN AMERICAN CATHOLIC EXPERIENCE

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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...

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Three. THE ORIGINS OF PADRES

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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...

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Four. PADRES: In the Beginning

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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...

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Five. PADRES INSURGENCY

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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...

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Six. SOCIAL ACTIVISM AND ITS COST

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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...

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Seven. THEORY AND ANALYSIS: The Emergence of PADRES

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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...

Appendix I. ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES

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pp. 148-152

Appendix II. METHODOLOGY

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pp. 153-154

NOTES

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pp. 155-171

GLOSSARY

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pp. 172-175

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 176-191

INDEX

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pp. 192-197


E-ISBN-13: 9780292797048
E-ISBN-10: 0292797044
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292706446
Print-ISBN-10: 0292706448

Page Count: 205
Illustrations: 5 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2005

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Catholic Church -- Clergy -- Political activity -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Church and social problems -- Catholic Church -- History -- 20th century.
  • Mexican Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights workers -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Political activists -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Mexican Americans -- Social conditions -- History -- 20th century.
  • Padres Asociados para Derechos Religiosos, Educativos y Sociales -- History.
  • Priests -- Political activity -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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