Paraguay, a landlocked country in South America, has 6.8 million inhabitants according to the 2002 national census; the main global religions present in Paraguay are Roman Catholicism (89%), Protestantism (11.7%), marginal Christianity (1%), other world religions (>1%), and new religious movements (<1%).

Roman Catholicism

The Roman Catholic Church entered with Spanish colonization, establishing the Asunción diocese in 1547. The institutional presence of the Church, however, remained weak for centuries.

Jesuits and Franciscans

From 1609 until their expulsion in 1767, the Jesuits baptized 1 million Indians. When the Treaty of Madrid (1750) transferred ownership of the Jesuit missions from Spain to Portugal, the pope supported their closing.

The Bishops’ Conference and Liberation Theology

After independence (1811), dictators kept the Roman Catholic Church under tight control, annexing its lands and directly appointing clergy ...

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