To Empower or Marginalize: Latinos and the American Catholic Church
This project examines how well the American Catholic Church is adapting and responding to Latinos, the only significant and growing population of Catholics. One primary marker of service is to draw attention to Latino needs, normalizing not only Latino presence in local churches and communities but also actively supporting their ascendance as a growing and dominant population, and sharing training resources and best practices for Latino community inclusion and leadership training. This is possible on the national level thanks to the presence of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which is the authoritative body of the American Catholic Church that speaks both to and for the American Catholic Church as a whole. This article examines USCCB news releases and meeting agendas over the past decade in order to determine whether the USCCB uses its national platform to serve, support, and advocate for Latinos in line with their historical reputation as an advocate for the marginalized, and their need to preserve Latinos as congregants during a time of institutional demise.
Dr. Kiku Huckle is an assistant professor of Political Science at California Lutheran University. Her research addresses how culture, values, and identity intersect and ultimately affect political beliefs and patterns of engagement, with an emphasis on race, racial resentment, and religious affiliation. Her book project, “Reluctant Evolution: Latino Communities and the American Catholic Church” examines the institutional barriers to the full inclusion of Latinos within the American Catholic Church. Other projects examine the relationship between race, racial resentment, and policy issues such as gun control and immigration, as well as vote choice. Dr. Huckle also uses geo-spatial analysis to understand how community level factors relate to the political integration and socialization of immigrants and citizens.