Honduras, a small country in Central America , is worth knowing about when it comes to the topic of Catholicism. The third poorest country in the Western hemisphere (behind Haiti and Nicaragua ), Honduras has been a place torn by political corruption, violence, disorganization, poverty, and indifference among the people. Ways to improve the country from within are very limited due to the lack of education, sophistication, and desire to improve. Yet, Catholicism still has a seat in this place.
Critics may say, “If Catholicism were so great, how could this country be in such shambles? The country would be better, not worse if Catholicism were truly great.” It is true that Honduras suffers greatly in many ways. For example, one Honduran city, San Pedro Sula , is now considered the most dangerous city in the world because of the overwhelming number of homicides happening there everyday. In Honduras, thieves tend not to discriminate either. Whether one is man or woman, boy or girl, native or foreigner, all should not be surprised if a man in dark clothing riding a bicycle stops, pulls out a knife, and demands one’s cell phone.
However, Catholicism is not the cause of these actions and ought not to be blamed. One must take a look at what Catholics have done for Honduras in order to see the true impact of Catholicism on this country. When one does take a look, the contributions the Church has made become ever so obvious.
First of all, Honduras has many Catholic schools and universities. Many young people receive an education learning English and acquiring knowledge in science, math, history, religion, and various other subjects. The Church gives them this opportunity if they or their parents so choose it.
Second of all, Honduras has many Catholic infirmaries. The sick and injured are given care. Granted, Honduras is a country with limited resources, but something is always better than nothing. Without these infirmaries, there would be much more suffering.
Third of all, Honduras has many churches. The majority of the churches are simple but beautiful in their own way. They are designed in a style not seen in the United States . Coming to church gives the people a sense of hope and joy they would not receive otherwise in a place often so desolate. One pleasantly surprising aspect of Honduras is that it seems to contain very few people who would consider themselves atheists, and people are generally not afraid to talk about God in their daily conversations. Whereas most people in the West consider the topic of God to be too sensitive and personal to talk about, Hondurans do not mind talking about what God has done for them in their lives. Sometimes, it takes a poor person to see God’s blessings.
Fourth of all, there are many Catholic missions in Honduras . These missions of lay people or religious orders carry out important corporal and spiritual tasks. Some groups may host retreats, Bible studies, and youth group activities, giving young people a community of which to be a part and grow closer to God. Other groups may bring food to the poor, take care of orphans, teach children who are referred to as “children of the street”, and travel to faraway homes to preach the Word of God. All of these actions are crucial for turning Honduras into a better place. When the youth are formed in the right way, in God’s way, then they will hopefully grow up with a selfless mindset instead of a selfish one.
Although Honduras has been a difficult place to live, as shown by the large number of emigrants in recent years, Catholicism has done its part in giving the place physical, intellectual, and spiritual help. May the patroness of Honduras , Our Lady of Suyapa, be a constant reminder that God is present in this country and will continue to help, if people start to go to Him.