U.S. Latino/a Theology (also known as U.S. Hispanic Theology) can be understood as the organized analysis of the lived experience of Hispanic women and men living in the United States as they engage in critical and faithful reflection about their relationship with the God of life revealed in Jesus Christ as well as their relationship with other women and men in light of their particular social, historical, cultural, and ecclesial circumstances.
There is not one standard way of doing U.S. Latino/a theology; neither is there one single topic that occupies the reflection of Hispanic theologians and communities. U.S. Latino/a theology is as diverse as the Hispanic people and the issues that affect their lives.
U.S. Latino/a theologians enrich the world of theological reflection with their unique contributions to the various particular theological fields:
The sources of U.S. Latino/a theology are those of traditional theology as well as the lived experience of Latinos/as living in the United States in dialogue with other traditions: intellectual, religious, social, and cultural.
The theological production among Hispanic Catholics in the United States has abundantly exploded since the 1990's. Two major reasons have led to this welcomed development:
1) The increasing number of U.S. Latino/a theologians working in universities and ecclesial contexts who are both reflecting and publishing on a more regular basis
2) The multilevel engagement of early questions such as the religious experience of Hispanic Catholics in the United States and Hispanic culture; new questions such as the public voice of U.S. Hispanic Catholics as they asume leadership in the next phase of the American Catholic experience in the 21st century; and major constructive projects leading to a rereading of classical Christian theological themes such as Tradition, Salvation, Ecumenism, Christology, Ecclesiology and Evangelization, among several others, from the perspective of the U.S. Hispanic Catholic experience.
If you come for the first time to the study of U.S. Hispanic Catholic theology, you may want to explore the following foundational works:
One of the key characteristics of U.S. Latino/Hispanic theology is its collaborative nature or what Latino/a theologians call Teología de conjunto. The following are important collections that bring together importnat voices articulating different methods and concerns:
The following works provide general introductions to the world of U.S. Latino/a Theology. They are helpful because they introduce authors, ideas, methodologies and helpful bibliographies:
Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS) -- An academic organization that gathers more than one hundred Latino/a theologians working in the United States and other parts of North America, whose work is to reflect primarily about the experience of U.S. Latinos and Latinas and how they understand their relationship with God here and now.
Latino/a Bibliography of Theology & Religious Studies -- This important resource is "a project and service of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the U.S. (ACHTUS), designed for its members and for scholars and students anywhere who need accurate, complete and frequently updated bibliographic information on and by U.S. Latino/a Catholics and Episcopalians."
Asociación para la Educación Teológica Hispana (AETH) -- AETH is an primarily Protestant organization that exists to stimulate dialogue and collaboration among theological educators, administrators of institutions for ministerial formation, and Christian ministerial students in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM) -- The Conference of Latin American Bishops. This site provides access to important documents for theology and ministry in the context of Latin American Catholicism.
Center for the Study of Latino/a Catholicism -- the stated mission of the Center is "to research and reflect theologically on Latino/a Catholicism and its impact on U.S. society and church, and to do so in a systematic, ecumenical, interdisciplinary, and culturally sensitive manner."
A Companion to Latina/o Studies -- A collection of 45 original essays written by leading scholars in the Latina/o studies field. These writers explore everything from theories of latinismo, immigration, education, language and religion to discussions on political and economic perspectives, race, class, gender, and sexuality (Available only to the BC Community)
Hispanic Theological Initiative -- A consortium of schools and organizations focused on helping identify and prepare Latino/a scholars and leaders in theological fields; recruit and support Latino/a doctoral students; advocate for Latino/a scholars in seminaries, schools of theology and universities; and provide a strong support network for Latina/o faculty and students.
USCCB - Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church -- A great resource within the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops in charge of promoting awareness of cultural diversity in all areas of the Church's life. The Secretariat oversees the pastoral care of Hispanic Catholics, African American Catholics, Native American Catholics, Asian Catholics, African Catholics, Pacific Islander Catholics, Catholic migrants and refugees and people on the move.
The Holy See -- This site offers access to hundreds of Church documents including the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Code of Canon Law, enclyclicals and other papal statements, and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Most documents are available in eight different languages.
Just as the number of U.S. Hispanic Catholic theologians and works has dramatically increased in the last few years so has been the case of U.S. Hispanic Protestant theologians. The following are some classic as well as some introductory works by Latino/a Protestant scholars that a student of U.S. Hispanic theology should read. Please continue to search BC's databases to find more treasures in this area: