Catholicism under siege in Guatemala
A delegation from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) found that Guatemala is now nearly 50 percent Evangelical, with new Church groups springing up all over the country. In their report, issued after a 17-day journey traveling 1,865 miles across 10 of the country’s 14 dioceses, the ACN delegation state that radical sects stand accused of bribing poverty-stricken people to join up, promising them food, medicine and jobs in exchange.
The document shows how some sect leaders entering an especially poor district make promises to give away food and clothes on the condition that people start to attend church services. The report indicates that this happens especially at times when the people are most vulnerable, such as after a hurricane or some other natural disaster.
In response, ACN is helping the bishops with a plan now under discussion for the Catholic Bible to be printed and distributed throughout the country. “The Guatemalan bishops are extremely conscious of the problem of the Evangelical churches,” said ACN Latin America projects coordinator Xavier Legorreta. “What we said to them again and again was: ‘We are ready and waiting to help.’” He added, “The Catholic Church recognizes the need to respond by presenting our faith clearly and using all the means available. Bible formation is absolutely key to this not only in Guatemala but all over the continent.”