Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala Page: 74
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modified. However, more important is the formal institution of relig-
ion and the religious structure found in each community, which incorpo-
rates religious, civil and political functions and, as Dombrowski et al.
(1970) and others (Carmack 1970) point out, influences both the economic
and sociocultural life in these villages by maintaining traditional
customs. Its primary function is to bind the community into a cohesive
society. This religious structure among the Indians is called th
cofradia, a religious t:otherhood. It is mainly in charge of the
town's patron saints and fiesta titular, a municipal celebration con-
ducted once a yTar honoring the town's patron saints. (See Reina 1967
for a more detailed account of the roll! of the fiesta titular and the
It has been estimated that at present more than 95 percent of
the total population of Guatemala is Roman Catholic, even though there
is still a "considerable native syncretism," according to Do.browski
et al. (1970). There is a recent movement afoot by the Catholic Church,
which is generally referred to as Catholic Action, in an attempt to
combat this assimilation of traditional beliefs into Catholicism. In
some towns, the Catholic Church has banned the rituals surrounding
the patron saints, as conducted by the cofradia, and even refuses to
participate in the owns' fiesta titular.2
Politically, Adams (1970) describes an essentially binary power
structure in Guatemala which is fundamentally divided along ethnic
lines, with Ladinos controlling the political power. As he and
others (Martinez-P. 1975; Carnack 1970) demonstrate, this structural
relationship has its basis historically in che encomienda which was
instituted at the time of the Conquest. During the early years of
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Rodeheaver, Daniel Gilbert, 1954-; Bates, Frederick L. & Murphy, Arthur D. Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala, report, May 1982; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84342/m1/87/: accessed March 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.