- Religion in Paraguay
= Current Situation =
According to article 24 of the Paraguayan Constitution of 1992, freedom of religion is recognised and there is no official religion. Relations between the State and the Catholic church are to be based on independence, co-operation and autonomy. The independence of religious organisations is guaranteed. [ [http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Paraguay/para1992.html Paraguay: Constitución de 1992 ] ]
As can be seen below, the majority of Paraguayans are Roman Catholic, although the percentage of Paraguayans who identify themselves as Catholic has dropped slightly. There has been a corresponding growth in the influence of Evangelical churches in recent years. There are a number of Indigenous religions and there are also Buddhist (probably due to immigration from Korea), Jewish and Muslim communities in the country.
Religions in Paraguay according to 2002 and 1992 censuses [http://www.dgeec.gov.py]
*Traditional Christianity taken to include Anglicanism, all branches of Orthodox Church, Lutheranism, Presbyterianism and the Mennonites - all branches that had emerged by the end of the 16th Century (except Catholicism)
**Post 16th Century Christian dominations includes: Christian and Missionary Alliance, Assemblies of God, Maranatha Baptist Church, "Centro familiar de adoración aposent.", "Comunidad Cristiana", Plymouth Brethren - Open Brothers, Independent, Church of God (Pentecostal), Church of God of Prophecy (Pentecostal), Methodism, Free Methodism, Church of the Nazarene, "Neotestimentaria" (Baptist), Pentecostal, Other Evangelical, Seventh Day Adventist , "Dios es Amor" (Pentecostal), Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Unification Church, Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), "Pueblo de Dios", Jehovah's Witnesses, Mount Zion Church & Other pseudo-Christian groups
*** Eastern and Cultural Relgions includes: Hinduism (Tao), Buddhism, Reyukai, Shintoism & Bahá'í ****Religions not previously mentioned in the 1992 census include: Rosacrucis, Spiritualists - E.C.Basilio, Umbanda, Other, Spiritualist, Mentalism, Indigenous Religions, Religions not included above & Unspecified other religion
Roman Catholicism in Paraguay
Catholicism has long been the most important religion in Paraguay, the Bishopric of Asunción was created in 1547 [ [http://countrystudies.us/paraguay/32.htm Paraguay - RELIGION ] ] . The majority of government officials are catholics and a number of Catholic festivals are public holidays (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Feast of The Assumption of the Virgen Mary [15th August] , Feast of The Immaculate Conception [8th December] and Christmas [http://www.libertadeslaicas.org.mx/paginas/infoEspecial/historia/02Historiografia/10040212.pdf] .
Many people mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with a pilgrimage to
Caacup%C3%A9. The Basilica of Caccupe contains a statuette of Our Lady of the Miracles. Pope John Paul II visited Caacupe in 1987.
The Church maintains the Universidad Católica "Nuestra Señora de la Asunción".
Judaism in Paraguay
The first synagogue in Paraguay was established in 1917 by Sephardic Jews who had emigrated from Palestine, Turkey and Greece; though there had previously been some isolated Jewish settlers from Europe. [http://haruth.com/jw/JewsParaguay.html Jews of Paraguay ] ]
Ashkenazi Jews from the Ukraine and Poland founded the "Unión Hebraica" in the 1920s, while in the 1930s between 15,000 and 20,000 refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia fled to Paraguay to escape the holocaust. Many of these later moved on to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Those who remained were later joined by immigrants who were mostly survivors of the concentration camps.
Today, the Jewish community has around a 1000 members who live mainly in Asunción. There is a Jewish school "Escuela Integral Estado de Israel". Asunción has three synagogues: Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Chabad and a Jewish museum.
Islam in Paraguay
The 1992 census recorded 872 Muslims in Paraguay 486 of which were in the Alto Parana department, the capital of which is Ciudad del Este. There are also communities in Asunción and Itapua (the capital fo which is Encarnación) [ [http://www.dgeec.gov.py Dirección General de Estadísticas, Encuestas y Censos ] ] . As in other parts of Latin America, many of these are descended from immigrants from Syria and Lebanon, though some may also be from Bangladesh and Pakistan [ [http://www.islamawareness.net/LatinAmerica/spanish.html Los Musulmanes - The Spanish Ummah of the Muslim world ] ]
*Paraguayan Constitution [http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Paraguay/para1992.html]
*Dirección General de Estádisticas y Censos [http://www.dgeec.gov.py]
*Virgin of Caacupé [http://members.chello.nl/~l.de.bondt/LadyCaacupe.htm]
*Jews of Paraguay [http://haruth.com/jw/JewsParaguay.html]
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