In spite of the advance of sects and Pentecostal churches, Latin America, with almost 400 million Catholics, is still considered the “Catholic continent”. But the Church also faces great challenges here. Social inequality, low income levels, corruption and an increasingly aggressive secularism often lead to societal violence and divisions, with the Church finding it more and more difficult to fulfil its role. ACN will not abandon the Church in this situation. In the year under review, we supported aid projects on the subcontinent with funds totalling 17.9 million euros.
The Church does not have a shortage of believers, but a shortage of parishes and personnel.
Of particular concern to the local churches is the aggressive secularism that seeks to silence the voice of the Church in many Latin American countries, especially on issues regarding the protection of life and the family. To promote evangelisation, ACN is there- fore increasingly helping the Church to digitise Catholic media so that it can reach as many people as possible and counteract the renunciation of religion.
Especially in the rural regions of Latin America, which are often characterised by great poverty, the Church is being challenged by the ongoing migration of the population. In search of better employment opportunities, people are drawn to the cities. There, rapid growth is accompanied by a quick increase in the number of believers. For many immigrants in metropolitan centres, the Church is often the last refuge of hope. But due to a lack of funds, new parishes are not being created as quickly as they are needed. The weaker presence of the Catholic Church due to the lack of priests has also led to the spread of evangelical groups and sects in many areas of the continent. In addition, some countries have extremely large parishes, which poses further problems for the Church. ACN therefore particularly promotes the training of priests, religious and catechists to ensure pastoral care and strengthen evangelisation.