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The Chicana/o Movement and the Catholic Church


The role of religion is largely missing from the historical narrative of the Chicana/o power movements of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Whereas historians have documented the political, educational, and social changes that resulted from the Chicana/o movement, very few have examined the role of religion. This thesis highlights the intersection of religion and the Chicana/o movement, specifically as it pertained to the Catholic Church. I examine three faith-based organizations founded during the Chicana/o movement and explore their resistance and challenge to the church’s longstanding institutional racism. I argue that the Catholic Church, like other institutions of power challenged during the late 1960’s, experienced its own Chicana/o movement and the field of Chicana/o studies should recognize this important piece of history.

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