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Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America's Largest Church

by Timothy Matovina

Most histories of Catholicism in the United States focus on the experience of Euro-American Catholics, whose views on such concerns as church reform, social issues, and sexual ethics have dominated public debates. Latino Catholicism provides a comprehensive overview of the Latino Catholic experience in America from the sixteenth century to today, and offers the most in-depth examination to date of the important ways the U.S. Catholic Church, its evolving Latino majority, and American culture are mutually transforming one another. Timothy Matovina assesses how Latinos' attempts to celebrate their faith and bring it to bear on the everyday realities of their lives have shaped parishes, apostolic movements, leadership, ministries, worship, voting patterns, social activism, and much more. At the same time, the lives and faith of Latino Catholics are being dramatically refashioned through the multiple pressures of assimilation, the upsurge of Pentecostal and evangelical religion, religious pluralism and growing secularization, and ongoing controversies over immigration and clergy sexual abuse. Going beyond the widely noted divide between progressive and conservative Catholics, Matovina shows how U.S. Catholicism is being shaped by the rise of a largely working-class Latino population in a church whose leadership at all levels is still predominantly Euro-American and middle class. Latino Catholicism highlights the vital contributions of Latinos to American religious and social life, demonstrating in particular how their engagement with the U.S. cultural milieu is the most significant factor behind their ecclesial and societal impact.

Recollections of a Tejano Life: Antonio Menchaca in Texas History

by Jesús F. de la Teja Timothy Matovina

San Antonio native, military veteran, merchant, and mayor pro tem José Antonio Menchaca (1800-1879) was one of only a few Tejano leaders to leave behind an extensive manuscript of recollections. Portions of the document were published in 1907, followed by a "corrected" edition in 1937, but the complete work could not be published without painstaking reconstruction. At last available in its entirety, Menchaca's book of reminiscences captures the social life, people, and events that shaped the history of Texas's tumultuous transformation during his lifetime. Highlighting not only Menchaca's acclaimed military service but also his vigorous defense of Tejanos' rights, dignity, and heritage, Recollections of a Tejano Life charts a remarkable legacy while incorporating scholarly commentary to separate fact from fiction. Revealing how Tejanos perceived themselves and the revolutionary events that defined them, this wonderfully edited volume presents Menchaca's remembrances of such diverse figures as Antonio López de Santa Anna, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, General Adrián Woll, Comanche chief "Casamiro," and Texas Ranger Jack Hays. Menchaca and his fellow Tejanos were actively engaged in local struggles as Mexico won her independence from Spain; later many joined the fight to establish the Republic of Texas, only to see it annexed to the United States nine years after the Battle of San Jacinto. This first-person account corrects important misconceptions and brings previously unspoken truths vividly to life.

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