» Many young people in Central America are victims of an undeclared war between the drug cartels. «
With more than 25 million Catholics, Latin America is traditionally considered the “Catholic continent”. The number of requests for aid to the Church in Latin America increased again in 2017 by about 7% to 1,199 applications. The reasons for this rise primarily include the economic crisis in Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, as well as continuing hardships in Haiti. In total, ACN funded 932 relief projects on the continent during the reporting year, supported by a total budget of around 12.7 million euros. This corresponds to 15.5 % of our global funding volume for 2017.
Nearly 40% of all Catholics worldwide live in Latin America. Nevertheless, the number of Catholic believers here has been decreasing dramatically over the past 40 years. On average, the Catholic Church still represents about 70% of the faithful, but in the poorest countries of Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, Catholics make up only 45–50% of the population. This is mainly a consequence of the lack of priests and adequate training.
» Promoting Christian formation is one of our main concerns in Latin America. «
This situation is exploited by Protestant sects and Pentecostal churches. By strengthening the Catholic Church, the influence of these sects can be diminished. For this reason, ACN’s assistance in Latin America has increasingly focused on the education and training of priests and other pastoral workers.
Of particular concern in Latin America is the excessive violence of the drug cartels and the extreme economic and cultural inequality. Poverty is still dramatic in the city peripheries and in rural areas. Every day, thousands of priests live and evangelize the poorest and those who have been forgotten.