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Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S., 1900-1965

Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S., 1900-1965

Edited by Jay P. Dolan and Jaime R. Vidal

This volume presents for the first time an in-depth historical analysis of the Puerto Rican and Cuban American Catholic experience, beginning with their roots in the history of their homelands up to the closing of Vatican II.

In the first section on Puerto Ricans, Vidal discusses the American Church’s attempt to assimilate them into its structure and style, which was at cross purposes with the Puerto Rican “revolving door” migration trends that have contstantly reinforced their identity. Focusing on the Puerto Rican community in New York City, Vidal demonstrates that the policies of the institutional Church have made it difficult for them to find their place within the U.S. Catholic structure. This has led to a certain amount of marginalization of the Church within the Puerto Rican community.

Lisandro Perez then discusses the Cuban-American Catholic experience, especially the first waves of Cuban migration during the 1960s. Since the first political exiles were from the upper and middle classes of Cuban society, this led to expectations that the Cubans would quickly blend into the white, middle-class American community at both the religious and the social levels. Perez analyzes the response of the Miami diocese to support the exiles and concludes that the Cubans have not been fully assimilated into the American Catholic Church because they view themselves as an exiled society that hopes eventually to return to Cuba.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02606-6
272 pages
Publication Year: 1994

Jay P. Dolan is professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present and The Immigrant Church: New York’s Irish and German Catholics, 1815–1865, both published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

Jaime R. Vidal was assistant director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, and assistant professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. He subsequently was director of Hispanic Studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum, held the James Supple Chair of Catholic Studies at Iowa State University, and was director of the Franciscan Press at Quincy University. He is now retired and lives in Illinois.

“A highly commendable work.” — Studies in World Christianity

“The three volumes . . . in the series are an important contribution not only for those interested in the study of Hispanic Catholics but also for those interested in the study of Hispanic immigration to the United States. These volumes provide extensive and in-depth analysis of processes at various levels of experience—political, cultural, sociological, and religious. . . .” — MultiCultural Review

“Vidal’s narrative of Puerto Rican Catholicism is a masterful summary. . . . Readers will be grateful for the insights that this volume—and the others in the series—offer about Latino religious life. This is an important book for those who want to understand Roman Catholicism in the United States.” — The Journal of Religion

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Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S., 1900-1965


Edited by Jay P. Dolan and Jaime R. Vidal

 Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S., 1900-1965
Paper Edition

This volume presents for the first time an in-depth historical analysis of the Puerto Rican and Cuban American Catholic experience, beginning with their roots in the history of their homelands up to the closing of Vatican II.

In the first section on Puerto Ricans, Vidal discusses the American Church’s attempt to assimilate them into its structure and style, which was at cross purposes with the Puerto Rican “revolving door” migration trends that have contstantly reinforced their identity. Focusing on the Puerto Rican community in New York City, Vidal demonstrates that the policies of the institutional Church have made it difficult for them to find their place within the U.S. Catholic structure. This has led to a certain amount of marginalization of the Church within the Puerto Rican community.

Lisandro Perez then discusses the Cuban-American Catholic experience, especially the first waves of Cuban migration during the 1960s. Since the first political exiles were from the upper and middle classes of Cuban society, this led to expectations that the Cubans would quickly blend into the white, middle-class American community at both the religious and the social levels. Perez analyzes the response of the Miami diocese to support the exiles and concludes that the Cubans have not been fully assimilated into the American Catholic Church because they view themselves as an exiled society that hopes eventually to return to Cuba.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02606-6

272 pages

“A highly commendable work.” — Studies in World Christianity

“The three volumes . . . in the series are an important contribution not only for those interested in the study of Hispanic Catholics but also for those interested in the study of Hispanic immigration to the United States. These volumes provide extensive and in-depth analysis of processes at various levels of experience—political, cultural, sociological, and religious. . . .” — MultiCultural Review

“Vidal’s narrative of Puerto Rican Catholicism is a masterful summary. . . . Readers will be grateful for the insights that this volume—and the others in the series—offer about Latino religious life. This is an important book for those who want to understand Roman Catholicism in the United States.” — The Journal of Religion

The Notre Dame History of Hispanic Catholics in the U.S.