Latin Americans make up the largest new immigrant population in the United States, and Latino Catholics are the fastest-growing sector of the Catholic Church in America. In this book, historian David A. Badillo offers a history of Latino Catholicism in the United States by looking at its growth in San Antonio, Chicago, New York, and Miami.
Focusing on twentieth-century Latino urbanism, Badillo contrasts broad historic commonalities of Catholic religious tradition with variations of Latino ethnicity in various locales. He emphasizes the contours of day-to-day life as well as various aspects of institutional and lived Catholicism. The story of Catholicism goes beyond clergy and laity; it entails the entire urban experience of neighborhoods, downtown power seekers, archdiocesan movers and shakers, and a range of organizations and associations linked to parishes. Although parishes remain the key site for Latino efforts to build individual and cultural identities, Badillo argues that one must consider simultaneously the triad of parish, city, and ethnicity to fully comprehend the influence of various Latino populations on both Catholicism and the urban environment in the United States.
By contrasting the development of three distinctive Latino communities-the Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans-Badillo challenges the popular concept of an overarching "Latino experience" and offers instead an integrative approach to understanding the scope, depth, and complexity of the Latino contribution to the character of America's urban landscapes.
David A. Badillo is an associate professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican studies at Lehman College (City University of New York). He previously taught at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Wayne State University, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Latinos in Michigan.