Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

American -- Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S., 1900-1965 Edited by Jay P. Dolan and Jaime R. Vidal

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

American -- Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S., 1900-1965 Edited by Jay P. Dolan and Jaime R. Vidal

Article excerpt

Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S., 1900-1965. Edited by Jay P. Dolan and Jaime R. Vidal.

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

Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. 1994. Pp. vii, 259. $24.95.)

The book consists of two long essays, "Citizens Yet Strangers: The Puerto Rican Experience: by Jaime R. Vidal, and "Cuban Catholics in the United States", by Lisandro Perez. The joint publication of these two essays offers the opportunity to compare the formation and history of these Catholic communities in this country. The initial contrast is striking: The twentieth-century Catholic Cuban community derives its strength from the post-1960 migration of professionals and business people, who came to Miami with their priests and nuns and the full assistance of the diocese. The postwar Puerto Rican migration of rural workers and the families resulted in the growth of communities In the Northeast, especially in New York, without the help of Puerto Rican priests and religious, and with the imposition of the local territorial parish, with its Irish-American model of liturgical, devotional, and educational practices.

Two elements ate important in the development of these communities. The first, elaborated at length by Vidal but sparingly by Perez, is the historical development of religious observances in the two islands. Here it is important to note that in contrast with the North American and northern European religious models, the religious values of Cubans and Puerto Ricans have been cemented more by the exercise of solidarity, compassion, generosity, hospitality, respect, and humility than by the clockwork observance of holidays of obligation, fasts, and sexual abstinence. Some North American hierarchs have publicly derided the religiosity of Caribbean people because they do not go to Mass punctually on Sundays. Most Puerto Ricans find it hard to understand why North Americans call themselves Christians when their hearts are apparently so closed to human suffering and misery. In each case there has been a preconception on the adequate way of explicitating faith. In the North to express one's emotions is a weakness; in the South to withhold that expression is callousness. …

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