Latin ‍America

Although more and more sects are spreading in Latin America, it is still considered the “Catholic continent”. With 500 million Catholics, 44% of the world’s Catholic population lives here. But the Church in Latin America faces great challenges. Poverty, social inequality, low wages, high levels of violence and the consequences of the pandemic make the lives of the faithful and the work of the Church difficult in many places. In 2021, ACN was able to support the Catholic Church in Latin America with a total volume of 12,8 million euros.

Central and South America map

» Where the Church is underrepresented, aggresive sects spread. «

In 2021, the Latin American continent – and with it, the Church – continued to be adversely affected by the pandemic. Numerous bishops, priests, religious and catechists died as a result of COVID-19. Nevertheless, the Church continued its mission of accompanying the sick and comforting the suffering faithful. The problem of rural exodus remains omnipresent on the continent. Due to poverty in rural areas, many move to the cities in search of better employment opportunities.

As a result, cities are growing rapidly, along with the number of believers in the urban areas. Here, due to a lack of funds, the Church is often unable to establish new parishes quickly enough to meet the growing need for spiritual and pastoral care.

A missionary sister of Jesus Verbo y Víctima gives catechetical lessons to a girl in Santa Clara, Cuba.
A missionary sister from Guasimal, Cuba, caring for children.

The Church in Latin America is also concerned about the high number of emigrations, especially from Venezuela and Cuba, leading to great challenges in the destination countries.

Also, due to a frequent lack of mobility and the large expansion of dioceses, pastoral care for the people is a problem in some Latin American countries. In places in which there is a shortage of priests and the Catholic Church is underrepresented, aggressive evangelical groups and sects are spreading. In order to secure pastoral care, the training of priests, religious and catechists is therefore an important concern for ACN.