The Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) in Guatemala: Issues of Gender, Ethnicity, and Social Transformation

Andrea Althoff


Far from the focus of public and scholarly attention, the Catholic Charismatic
Renewal (CCR) has developed into the largest lay movement of the
Catholic Church in Guatemala, Latin America, and globally. This means that a
significant number of Catholics are experiencing a Pentecostal revival within
the Catholic Church, as they form part of an internal Catholic Charismatic
movement, which in the year 2000 encompassed at least 74 million Catholics
in the Americas and a minimum of 120 million globally. In Guatemala, representatives of the CCR claim that the movement is particularly successful
among women and rural Mayas. If the aforementioned claim is substantiated
by data, how do we account for the success of a movement with origins in
the United States and apparently no cultural affinities to Mayan culture? Why
are women specifically attracted to a movement that has been frequently
described as patriarchal and conservative? This article examines the history
of the movement, its demographics (female and indigenous membership),
and four domains (discourse, religious practice, community, and institution)
in order to shed light on the impact of Pentecostalized Catholicism on church
life, gender, ethnicity, and social relationships.

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