Gautemala is the largest country in Central America, with 13 million inhabitants. Table 1 shows the main global religions present in Guatemala: Roman Catholics, Protestants, marginal Christians, other world religions, and new religious movements.
The Roman Catholic Church entered with Spanish colonization, establishing the Guatemala diocese in 1534. A shortage of priests curtailed the strength of [Page 486]the Church for centuries. After independence (1821), Conservative dictators supported the Roman Catholic Church, whereas the Liberals were anticlerical and annexed the Church properties.
Table 1 Main Global Religions in Guatemala: 1995, 2000, 2004
The Guatemalan Bishops' Conference
Since the 1940s, Guatemalan bishops supported Catholic Action, a lay movement fighting communism, Protestantism, and Indian religious syncretism. The Bishops' Conference, founded in 1964, was conservative and hardly influenced by the Second Vatican ...