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Center for the Study of Latino/a Catholicism


Bibliographic Resources on Latino/a (Catholic) Theology

For practically all publications by and on Latino/a Catholic and Episcopalian theology and theologians (and on Latino/a Catholics and Episcopalians), the most complete, comprehensive and up-to-date fully searchable bibliography is available through the website of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the U.S. (ACHTUS) or through the website of ACHTUS’ electronic Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology. On either website click on “Bibliographies,” and then follow directions.

You also want to thoroughly visit those two websites, because they offer links to and explanations on topics related to Latino/a theology and Catholicism.

Of course, ACHTUS and its Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology (JHLT) are themselves excellent resources too.  The JHLT site has an online archive of past issues (those originally printed as well as those originally electronic)-- a subscription to the journal is a very good investment if you are interested in keeping abreast of developments in Latino/a theology.

The ACHTUS archives are also very important, historically, and will soon be available for research at the library of Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union.

And in Facebook there is a new (and growing) site called "Teolog@as Latin@as" (in English, serving to inform on both Protestant and Catholic Latino/a theologies and theologians). In the Facebook terminology it's under "Public Figures/Celebrities."

If you want to read Latino/a Catholic theology...

Besides the JHLT, remember Apuntes (published by Perkins School of Theology, Dallas) and Perspectivas (published by the Hispanic Theological Initiative Consortium, Princeton). These two journals are ecumenical, and many Latino/a Catholics have published there.

Some libraries have significant collections of works by or on U.S. Latino/a theologians (and allied fields). Look into the library catalogs of Catholic Theological Union (Chicago), Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley), University of San Diego, Princeton Theological Seminary (this one especially for journals), and the University of Notre Dame. Of course, there are other fine libraries with important holdings, but these are probably the ones with the largest collections on U.S. Latino/a (Catholic) theology.

Of course, you can buy and read everything included in the ACHTUS bibliographies I mentioned in the preceding section... but several thousand texts can be overwhelming if you are just starting-- so below we suggest some titles to help you get started.    And yes, there are now several thousand published titles (books, journal articles and chapters in books) in U.S. Latino/a Catholic theology, almost all in English, and almost all easily available through libraries or bookstores.

A reminder that is obvious: always remember that authors and ideas grow, change, expand, and sometimes develop or disagree today with what they published yesterday-- therefore, when you read something published thirty or twenty years ago remember that fact. People (and theologians are people) and their ideas can grow and change.

If you are going to start reading and researching (unless you already know whose works or which topics you need to read), I would suggest that you start with From the Heart of Our People: Latino/a Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology, eds. Orlando Espín and Miguel Díaz (Orbis Books, 1999)-- this is a “programatic” anthology by some of the more influential authors. The volume demonstrates and explains the teología en conjuntoapproach, and gives you some very solid starting points in many standard areas of theology. Of course, follow the leads and the bibliography cited in the endnotes.  This collective volume remains, possibly, the most useful of the muti-authored books that have appeared in the past two decades or so.

Be aware that, precisely because of the teología de conjunto methodological approach so distinctive of Latino/a theology, many crucially important contributions were and are collective. This is a sign of what Prof. Jean-Pierre Ruiz (of St. John’s University, New York) once called Latino/a theology’s “anthological imagination.” 

The first important collective volumes to appear were:

- Allan Figueroa Deck, ed. Frontiers of Hispanic Theology in the United States(Orbis Books 1992).
- Arturo J. Bañuelas, ed. Mestizo Christianity(Orbis Books, 1992).

Both of these early volumes are still available, although some of the contributions made therein might have now been superseded.

The quarterly Listening: Journal of Religion and Culture in 1992 also published a special issue dedicated to Latino/a theology.   Another very important early collective, and the first ecumenical one, was:

- Roberto S. Goizueta, ed. We Are a People! Initiatives in Hispanic American Theology(Fortress Press, 1992).

Closer to the present other important collective works have followed (in biblical studies, systematic theology, feminist theology, etc.) edited by Fernando Segovia and Ada M. Isasi-Díaz, Jeanette Rodríguez and Daisy Machado, and Orlando Espín with Miguel Díaz and Gary Macy.  All their bibliographical citations are included in the aforementioned ACHTUS bibliographies (

In a recent USD course, a student directly asked which five titles have been the most important books published by Latino/a Catholic theologians-- the five books that anyone can say “indelibly marked” this theological movement. Well, it is very risky business to answer that question, because invariably other important texts might be left out of the list, and because there have clearly been more than five books to “indelibly mark” Latino/a Catholic theology.

Which, for example, could you say are the five books to indelibly mark German, or French, or European American theologies in the past thirty years? Good luck with your answer!   But, at the risk of forgetting and of being corrected (and not as an answer to the student's question), we suggest you  read:

- Virgilio Elizondo. Galilean Journey: The Mexican American Promise (Orbis Books, 1983).
- Roberto S. Goizueta. Caminemos con Jesús: Toward a Hispanic/Latino Theology of Accompaniment (Orbis Books, 1995).
- Ada M. Isasi-Díaz, En la lucha/In the Struggle: A Hispanic Women’s Liberation Theology (Augsburg Fortress Press, 1993).
- Orlando O. Espín. The Faith of the People: Theological Reflections on Popular Catholicism(Orbis Books, 1997).

Those are five very influential titles, no doubt. However, the above publications, for all their unquestioned importance, are now becoming “historical.” Notice too that these are only books-- while some crucially important and  equally “indelibly marking” texts have been journal articles or book chapters. Consequently, the USD  student’s question (as formulated) unintentionally and unfairly narrowed the “indelibly marking” texts to too few and to only books-- reality does not allow us, however, to be so limiting and presumptuous.

So here are more authors whose books, journal articles, chapters in books and scholarly papers are important too (

In the first Latino/a theological generation you should read Roger Luna and C. Gilbert Romero, Arturo Bañuelas and Allan Figueroa Deck. And of course, Virgilio Elizondo, Roberto Goizueta, Orlando Espín, Fernando Segovia, Ada M. Isasi-Díaz, M. Pilar Aquino, Jean-Pierre Ruiz, Carmen M. Nanko-Fernández, Gary Riebe-Estrella, Jeanette Rodríguez, Alejandro García-Rivera, Ana M. Pineda, and others.

Newer issues, new authors and new dialogue partners require, of course, that you read more in order to merely keep abreast (and not limit yourself to a few good books by a few older theologians).    Gratefully, new generations of Latino/a theologians are opening up new areas to research, and a growing and fascinating body of literature continues to appear.

Among Catholics of the "almost first," second and third generations, you must read Miguel Díaz, Michelle González Maldonado, Francisco Lozada, Nancy Pineda-Madrid, Eduardo Fernández, Gilberto Cavazos-González, and Raúl Gómez-Ruiz. Among younger scholars, read Angel Méndez, Michael E. Lee, Ernesto Valiente, Neomi DeAnda, Jacqueline Hidalgo, Cecilia González-Andrieu, Theresa Torres, Christopher Tirres, Natalia Imperatori-Lee, etc.   Non-Latinos/as whose publications may assist your understanding are James B. Nickoloff , Gary Macy and Timothy Matovina-- but remember, as they do, that they are not Latino/a themselves and don't pretend to "speak for" Latinos/as (that's an important reason why they are recommended).

It has been repeatedly stated that Latino/a Catholic theology has developed well in the fields of systematic and fundamental theologies, in pastoral/practical theology, in liturgy and sacramental theology, and in biblical studies. And yes, assume all the necessary specializations and expected variations within each of the usual disciplinary classifications.

Still missing, however, is a large enough body of publications in church history, authored by Latinos/as-- although some fine works in Latino/a church history do exist: Moisés Sandoval (On the Move and Fronteras,on Latino/a Catholic history in general), Jerry Pollo (Presente! and Cuban American Catholics), Timothy Matovina on Latino/a Catholics in San Antonio, as well as Gilberto Hinojosa, Jaime Vidal and a handful of others who have published important texts... but these are still not enough.  Perhaps CEHILA's U.S. members will help remedy the smallness of Latino/a Catholic historical publications in the foreseeable future (CEHILA is the Comisión de Estudios de Historia de la Iglesia en América Latina, a continent-wide organization of church historians and other academics interested in church history).   A good introductory trilogy on 20th century Latino/a church history is the one published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 1994:  J. Dolan and A. Figueroa Deck, eds. Hispanic Catholics in the United States: Issues and Concerns;  J. Dolan and G. Hinojosa, eds. Mexican Americans and the Catholic Church; and  J. Dolan and J. Vidal, Puerto Rican and Cuban Catholics in the U.S.

Even more surprising is the perceived Latino/a absence in Christian ethics/moral theology. There are a number of Latino/a Catholics in this field, of course, but are they writing identifiably Latino/a theology? The (near) future, however, might bring a change in the field of Christian ethics/moral theology among Latino/a Catholics, because a handful of young scholars have entered the discipline recently. We will soon recognize the names of Víctor Carmona and Jeremy Cruz, among others.

A number of Latino/a Protestant colleagues have been influential on Catholics, so you need to check them out too: the very important Justo L. González, Efraín Agosto, Daisy L. Machado, Samuel Soliván, Eldin Villafañe, José David Rodríguez, Luis Rivera Rodríguez, José Irizarry, Juan F. Martínez, Luis Rivera Pagán, Luis Pedraja, Edwin Aponte, Ismael García, and the late Orlando Costas.   Néstor Medina will become important because of his work on mestizaje and culture (published in the Center's series in 2009), and Mayra Rivera for her contributions to systematics and post-colonial theory. Watch out for Robert J. Rivera, as well as Loida Martell-Otero, Elizabeth Conde-Frazer, Miguel de la Torre, Juan Hernández, Rubén Rosario-Rodríguez, and Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi. Evidently, there are many other Protestant Latino/a theologians of great quality and important publications, especially younger ones. The ones just mentioned seem to have steadily engaged Catholic Latino/a theologians. 

The first explicit attempt by Latino/a Protestant and Catholic theologians and biblical scholars to jointly and explicitly address the main issues separating Christians-- addressing these issues latinamente-- is the collective volume:

- Orlando O. Espín, ed. Building Bridges, Doing Justice: Constructing a Latino/a Ecumenical Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009).