Devotions
Part 2 History

Chapter v23 Hispanic Popular Religiosity in the United States

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Orlando Espin

The Liturgical Year

Popular Religion, Devotions, Liturgy

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

In the fall of 2011 a group of (mostly Anglo) students compared and contrasted American and Hispanic devotions in this way:

American: organized, scheduled, books, literate, heady, intellectual, individual, focus on the liturgy, organized, rules, private, individualistic, individualistic, America is a pluralistic society largely based on Lockean ideals of liberal individualism; private, independent and solemn, quiet and solitary, separation of liturgical prayer and devotional prayer, little inculturation, intellectual and theological retelling rather than dramatizations, spice-less (= boring?), sometimes devotions become "cultural" and lose their religious meaning, for example St. Patrick's Day, individualistic, relative, reciprocal (commercial), watered down and less communal and inter personal and more individualistic, Germanic, sense of obligation, lack of genuine zeal, somber, more inside the church building oriented, internal, intellectual, personal, individual, Bible, rational, land of the free, theological, intellectual, subdued, somber, German, subdued, reserved, "refined", very private and close to the heart.

Hispanic: movement, traditional (memorized) chants, dance, food, color, fireworks, spontaneous, collective, movement, ritual, festive, costumes, processions, spontaneous, community, movement, processions, dramatizations, community, exuberant joyful, singing, dancing, good food, costumes, celebration, festive, inculturated and integrated into liturgy, dramatic, spectacular, dramatizations, traditional, cultural, devotions foster self-identity, importance of community, community aspect, family, movement, processions, Day of the Dead, vibrant, processions, festive, communitarian, festive, joyful, exuberant, family, honor and pride, movement, processions, dramatic, graphic, visual, community identity, exuberant, Mary, communities, devotions to the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Click here to return to:  Top of this page -- Devotions Index -- Fr. Tom's Home Page

Bibliography

Joyce Ann Zimmerman (Editor). Popular Religion Volume 7, Summer 1998 Edition of Liturgical Ministry.  Collegeville, MN.

Click here to return to:  Top of this page -- Devotions Index -- Fr. Tom's Home Page

Orlando Espin

page 2:  Popular religion is a locus theologicus

page 3:  "Popular" here means (not widespread, most liked, etc) of the people.  Thesis:  two traditions exist within one and the same church:  Official Catholicism and Popular Catholicism.  Official Catholicism contacts God through the Liturgy; Popular Catholicism contacts God through devotions.  These two co-exist, at times clash, and frequently misunderstand each other.

page 4:  Ecclesiological and pastoral models are founded on theological assumptions.  The theological assumptions on which Official Catholicism is based had not been successful in developing a theology of the laity, the sensus fidelium or "reception" of doctrine.

page 5:  Popular Catholicism is not the sum of Popular Devotions.   Popular Catholicism functions as a culturally authentic epistemology.  (The founding Friars brought at pre-Tridentine Church to America.) "Figuring out how Latinos could historically and culturally think and image events, doctrines or experiences has often proved more important than what might have been actually thought or imaged." (page 6)

Page 7-10:  A case study:  Virgen de Guadalupe  Official Catholicism sees the Virgen de Guadalupe as an apparition of the Blessed Mother.  Popular Catholicism makes little reference to Mary of Nazareth in their devotion to the Virgen de Guadalupe. 

Click here to return to:  Top of this page -- Devotions Index -- Fr. Tom's Home Page

The Liturgical Year

For a summary of the teachings of Official Catholicism regarding the Liturgical Year, see my notes at Chapter y13 Overview of the Liturgical Year

Compare this with the Popular Anglo American understanding of the Liturgical Year, e.g. Advent and Lent.

Compare this with the Popular Latino American understanding of the Liturgical Year, e.g. Advent and Lent.

Role of "Reading the Scriptures"
Function of the Season
Principle characters / actions

Click here to return to:  Top of this page -- Devotions Index -- Fr. Tom's Home Page

Popular Religion, Devotions, Liturgy

 Devotions are somewhat different from popular "religion".   The Fourth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate describes popular religion as "a privileged expression of the inculturation of the faith.  It involves not only religious expressions but also the values, criteria, behaviors, and attitudes that spring from Catholic dogma and constitute the wisdom of our people, shaping their cultural matrix." (quoted by James Empereur, in Commentary, p 13) 

"Popular religion is not to be equated with certain religious practices or devotions.  It is more a matter of having a different perspective on the world.  Popular religion provides a structure of meaning for those who are dominated by a social order not their own.  It helps a community to form a self-identity that is opposed to a world of oppression."  (James Empereur, in Commentary, p 13)

Click here to return to:  Top of this page -- Devotions Index -- Fr. Tom's Home Page

To Think About

 

Click here to return to:  Top of this page -- Devotions Index -- Fr. Tom's Home Page

Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 09/15/11 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org