Argentina is known to much of the outside world for its widespread Roman Catholicism and its sports. As a football nation, having had such great footballers as Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, and Angel Di Maria, Argentina has often been one of the greatest in the world. It has its capital in Buenos Aires which is also the largest city. There is no official language in the country, but Guarani, Qom, and Mocovi are the recognized regional languages. The country has a unitary presidential system of governance led by President Mauricio Macri. The country’s education system is highly ranked globally with a free education system in all levels. The country is highly urbanized with over 92% of the population living in the urban areas. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The citizens show high individualization and de-institutionalization of religious beliefs. A study conducted n 2014 showed that 23.8% regularly attend religious services, 49.1% seldom do, while 26.8% never attend. This article looks at various religious groups in the country.
Religious groups in Argentina
Roman Catholic Christianity
According to the CIA World Factbook, 92% of Argentine citizens are Roman Catholics, although less than 20% practice their faith regularly. Although there is neither state nor official faith, the country gives the Roman Catholic a differential status through state financial support to the church. The history of the religion goes back to the colonial era where the church was the dominant religion and the leading social service provider. In the 19th Century, the relationship between the government and the church became sour over issues such as compulsory secular education, civil wedding, and government appointment of religious leaders. The Vatican together with conservative Argentinean administrators came up with the basis for a mutually acceptable relationship in the early 20th Century. There are seven Catholic universities in Argentina and hundreds of primary and secondary schools sponsored and run by the church. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis) of Buenos Aires became the first non-European pope since the year 971.
The Protestant population in the country has been increasing in the recent past. A survey showed that only 9% of the population claimed to have been raised as Protestants, but 19% said that they are currently Protestants. The majority of those who had converted from Catholic sighted the desire of having a more personal relationship with God. The other reasons sighted were that they wanted a different style of worship as well as seeking a church that helped its members. Women who had been married to non-Catholics also sighted doing so as a reason they converted. The Pentecostal evangelism characterized by speaking in tongues, miracles, and receiving direct revelation from God has also played a significant role in converting Catholics to Protestants. Two-thirds of the Protestants identify themselves as Pentecostals. Protestants are the only group in Argentina whose majority of followers regularly attended services.
Mormonism, Jehovah’s, and other forms of Christianity
The Jehovah’s Witness religion has faced hard times in the country, striving just to exist in Argentina. The state has held that some of the values of the church are contrary to the legislation in place. There are currently just over thirty thousand followers of the religion in 604 churches across the world. In the year 1978, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights presented a petition to the Argentinean government challenging its decision to close down all the churches belonging to the religion. The commission also argued that hundreds of the church members had been imprisoned irregularly for their faith. The situation is, however, favorable and the freedom of worship has been upheld.
Other Beliefs in Argentina
There are several cults in the country, with the most notable one being La Difunta Correa (the deceased Correa), which is centered in a shrine in Argentina's San Juan province. Thousands of people come to visit the shrine annually to pay respect to a place where miracles have been witnessed since its inception in 1840. It is believed that a woman by the name Deolinda Correa was abandoned by her husband in civil wars after falling sick. The woman took off in search of her husband in the company of her son. Her supplies ran out, and she died. Her decomposing body was later, later and the baby was still alive feeding on her mother’s miraculously full breast. The story spread fast and residents of the nearby towns visited the place and later built a shrine which later culminated into a shrine. Deolinda Correa is the saint to the followers of the cult. Other cults include those led by Gauchito Gil, Miguel Angel Gaitan, and Mapuche Cacique. Other religions are Islam, comprising around 1% of the population, and Jews, with less than one percent.
Religious Beliefs In Argentina
|Rank||Belief System||Share of Contemporary Argentine Population|
|1||Roman Catholic Christianity||73.2%|
|3||Atheism or Agnosticism||11.2%|
|4||Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, and Other Forms of Christianity||2.1%|