Peru is the third largest country in South America in terms of surface area. Its geographical diversity ranges from the Amazon rainforest to the highlands of the Andes. The majority of its 33 million inhabitants are of indigenous descent, and 76% profess the Catholic faith. The economic crisis, the pandemic and the influx of refugees from Venezuela have further divided society. At the same time the Church is campaigning for more solidarity and prudence. ACN supports the local Church with a focus on education.
The social crisis in Peru has reached a new peak.
Peru is the country in Latin America that has been most affected by COVID-19 in relation to the size of its population. Nor has the local Church been spared the scourge of the coronavirus – many priests and religious have died. The consequences of the pandemic have exacerbated the economic crisis and already existing social tensions. Poverty in the countryside is growing rapidly, and many young people are migrating to the cities, where they hope for a better future. But the rural exodus also has its dark side, as problems like social uprooting, drug addiction and broken families continue to increase in the cities. The influx of refugees from Venezuela is also a social challenge. More than one million Venezuelan citizens have already come to Peru legally, and another 500,000 immigrants have applied for refugee status.
The Catholic Church in Peru
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Peru’s independence, the bishops spoke of “perhaps the most serious crisis in our life as a republic”. Meanwhile, the Church is attempting to promote solidarity among the country’s people. In August 2021, for example, the Bishops’ Conference raised its voice against divisions in society. They had already called for calm and prudence in June in the wake of the parliamentary elections.
ACN is aware of the enormous challenges facing the Church in Peru. This year, we again supported the local Church with Mass stipends for priests and material aid for sisters. Another focus of our support was the training of priests and catechists to ensure pastoral care in the future.