Roman Catholicism is the official religion of Paraguay, although there has been freedom of religion since 1967. Roman Catholicism accounts for 90% of the population. There is one archdiocese, that of Asunción, since 1929 (bishop's seat since 1547). There are also eight other dioceses. It is striking that the place of the Roman Catholic Church in Paraguayan society is much less influential than in the rest of South America.
Traditionally, the state's isolation and lack of interest in religion in general has resulted in varied religious practices, with the priests more in the role of healers and magicians.
Protestant denominations have gained less influence in Paraguay than in some other South American countries. The number of Protestants in Paraguay is about 100,000. They are divided into 14 denominations, of which the Mennonite denomination (approx. 30,000) is the most flourishing and the largest. The Mennonites came to Paraguay in three groups in 1927, 1930 and 1947 and settled in the Chaco and the forests of eastern Paraguay.
Other evangelical groups, including the controversial New Tribes Mission, often had strong connections with the clique around dictator Stroessner. Most indigenous Indians have retained their own faith, although they too have often been officially converted to the Roman Catholic faith.
Bernhardson, W. / Argentina, Uruguay & Paraguay
Kleinpenning, J. / Paraguay
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen
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