Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U. S., 1900-1965. The Notre Dame History of Hispanic Catholics in the U. S., vol. 2

Citation: 
Dolan, Jay P., and Jaime R. Vidal, eds. Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U. S., 1900-1965. The Notre Dame History of Hispanic Catholics in the U. S., vol. 2. Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame Press, 1994.
Abstract: 

In "Citizens Yet Strangers: The Puerto Rican Experience," Jaime R. Vidal traces the development of Puerto Rican Catholicism from its sixteenth century origins on the island through its adaptation to life in the twentieth-century mainland United States. According to Vidal, between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries a form of "popular Catholicism" that was somewhat isolated from the official structures of the Church developed in Puerto Rico. After the United States assumed sovereignty over Puerto Rico in 1898, American political and ecclesiastical dominance of the island motivated Puerto Ricans to struggle tenaciously to maintain their own cultural and religious identities and caused them to develop ambivalent attitudes towards both the American government and the American Catholic Church. When Puerto Ricans began migrating to the mainland in large numbers in the 1940s and 1950s, therefore, attempts to "Americanize" them by forming integrated parishes failed to meet their needs and met with resistance. During the 1960s, the Cursillo movement and the reforms of the Second Vatican Council brought increased vitality to Puerto Rican Catholicism, but Puerto Ricans continue to face challenges in their attempts to preserve their heritage as members of the Catholic Church in the United States. In "Cuban Catholics in the United States," Lisandro Perez chronicles the history of Cuban Catholicism from the colonial period to the establishment of a large community of Cuban Catholic political exiles in Miami in the early 1960s. Perez discusses the reasons that Cuban Catholicism historically lacked the vitality attributed to much of the Latin American Church and describes Cuban migration to the United States in the nineteenth century. Finally, he sketches the ways in which Catholicism was practiced by the Cuban cigar makers of Ybor City, Florida and by exiles from Castro's regime in mid-twentieth century Miami. In concluding, Perez expresses hope that future changes in the Cuban government could enable the Catholic Church to exercise more influence in Cuba than it has in the past.

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