Roman Catholic Christianity is the religious group with the biggest following in the country. The Church has contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of the Dominican Republic through the projects it has initiated especially before the country attained its independence. Among the projects initiated by the Church include schools and hospitals. It has been at the forefront in agitating for proper governance and accountability especially through its national council of bishops. Protestant Christianity is also significant in its membership and is growing fast. The other religious groups include Atheism, Islam, Judaism and Eastern religions among others.
Religious Beliefs In The Dominican Republic
Roman Catholic Christianity
It is the most dominant religious group constituting over three-quarters of the country’s population. It was introduced into the country by the Christian missionaries who came to the country before independence. The Church has over 1.6 million baptized members that confess the religion. It has over 800 members serving in the priesthood that is distributed throughout its 11 territorial dioceses. The trace of Catholic found in the country is mixed with elements of the native people’s traditions and other external practices especially from Western Africa. The Church became accommodative of some of their native culture and incorporated them into their liturgy. The use of drums was one of them.Presently, Roman Catholics constitute 75% of the total population in the country.
They make up 20% of the country’s population. It is a fast-growing segment of the Republic’s population mainly due to the strong evangelistic efforts of the Protestant churches. Some of the dominant groups include the Assemblies of God, Seventh-Day Adventists, Pentecostals, and Baptists among several others. Morgan Foley is credited with the spread of Protestant Christianity in the country since the 1800s. Other adherents of the religion came into the country from the US and West Indies in the 19th Century.
The country has a small population of Jews practicing the religion numbering a few hundred. It mainly came to the country when President Rafael Trujilo accepted a hundred thousand Jews into the country from Germany and other places where they were facing persecution. They mostly live in Santo Domingo and Sosua regions where there are synagogues to facilitate their religious practices. The religious liberty in the country has enabled the Jews to practice their faith with limited hindrance. However, Judaism has not spread extensively to other cultural groups apart from the descendants of the original migrant groups.
It was brought into the country in the 1960s by two Japanese immigrants. They mainly practice the Mahayana style of Buddhism according to the initial traditions of the founders. They have two primary centers in the country called Zen and Nichiren where they gather for the religious duties. The religion has not spread extensively especially to the native people and is mainly adopted by immigrants from the Eastern countries where the religion has its roots.
Impact Of Religions In The Dominican Republic
Even though there is a small group that does not subscribe to any religion, most of the country’s citizens are religious. The government has supported the liberty and freedom of worship without any hindrance. The religious groups mainly Catholic Church has assisted in the development of various aspects of the socio-economic development.