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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Catholic

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (42.6%)

Features Of Constitution

Is there a constitution?3 Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?3 Yes


Constitution Year4 1986
Last Amended4 1993
Source4 Political Database of the Americas
Translation4 Unofficial translation by ARDA staff from Spanish source
Current as of4 May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)4


We, the representatives of the people of Guatemala, freely and democratically elected, meeting in the National Constituent Assembly with the goal of legally and politically organizing the state; asserting the primacy of the human person as the subject and basis of the social order; recognizing the family as the primary and fundamental genesis of the spiritual and moral values of society and the State, which is responsible for promoting the common good and strengthening the rule of law, security, justice, equality, freedom and peace; inspired by the ideals of our ancestors and securing our traditions and cultural heritage; committed to promoting full respect for human rights within a stable, permanent and popular institutional order, where citizens and rulers act in absolute adherence to the law.

Article 19: Prison system.

The prison system should aim at the social rehabilitation and reformation of prisoners and treat the prisoners toward these ends, with the following minimum standards:
a) They must be treated as human beings; they should not be discriminated against for any reason, nor be subjected to cruel treatment, physical, moral, psychological, coercive or harassing torment, work that is incompatible with their physical condition, actions that degrade their dignity, or be victims of abuse or subjects of scientific experiments;
b) They must serve their sentences in places intended for this purpose. Penal institutions will have a civil character and will have specialized personnel, and
c) They have the right to communicate, at their request, with their families, defense attorneys, a chaplain or doctor, and when appropriate, with the diplomatic or consular representative of their nationality.
Violation of any of the rules set out in this article shall give a prisoner the right to claim compensation from the State for damages and the Supreme Court to order his immediate protection.
The State shall create and promote the conditions for full compliance with the provisions of this article.

Article 33: Right of assembly and demonstration.

The right to peaceful and unarmed assembly is recognized.
The rights of assembly and public protest cannot be restricted or curtailed; and the shall be enforced for the sole objective of guaranteeing public order.
Religious demonstrations outside of churches are permitted and governed by the law.
Sufficient prior notice to the competent authorities from the organizers is needed for the exercise of these rights.

Article 36: Freedom of religion.

The exercise of all religions is free. Everyone has the right to practice their religion or belief, both in public and in private, through teaching, worship and observance, with no restrictions other than those required for public order and for respect for the dignity of the hierarchy and the faithful of other creeds.

Article 37: Legal status of churches.

The juridical personhood of the Catholic Church is recognized. The other churches, faiths, organizations and associations of a religious character will receive the recognition of legal status under the rules of their institution, and the government cannot deny it except for reasons of public order.
The State will extend to the Catholic Church, at no cost, titles to the properties which it currently owns and uses peacefully for its own purposes, provided that they have been part of the heritage of the Catholic Church in the past. The affected assets may not be entered in favor of third persons, or assets that the state has traditionally allocated for its services.
Properties owned by religious institutions intended for worship, education and social assistance are exempt from taxes, fees and contributions.

Article 49: Marriage.

Marriage may be authorized by the ma


1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports the estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. The RCS was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivision within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

3.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

4.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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