In 1969, Católicos Por La Raza (CPLR) emerged as an ethnic “protest group” against the “injustices” of the American Catholic Church in San Diego and Los Angeles, California. CPLR was critical of the Catholic hierarchy's inconsistencies in relation to the Chicano community. As one of the wealthiest institutions, the Catholic Church was doing very little for a community that made up the largest part of the Church's membership. For CPLR, the Christian message of “justice” was not practiced by the leaders of the Church. In Los Angeles, Chicanos were asking why the Archdiocese chose to close a high school in the barrio, due to lack of funds, but could still afford to build a three million dollar cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. In San Diego, Chicanos were asking the Catholic Church to become intimately involved in the everyday struggles of the Chicano community. Within this dialogue emerged a clear concept of “justice” and its meaning for CPLR members in relationship to the hierarchy of the American Catholic Church.

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