The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom. There are no restrictions on religious expression or speech. The constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind and Article 63 specifically guarantees the religious freedom of indigenous communities. The constitution and other laws protect the right of individuals to choose, change, and freely practice their religion. The constitution provides protection against discrimination and persecution and offers remedies for violating religious freedom.
The constitution recognizes the historic role of the Catholic Church. The government permits political parties to form based on a specific faith, but requires that the president, vice president, and members of congress be laypersons.
The government requires all churches and other religious groups to register with the Vice Ministry of Worship in the Ministry of Education and Culture. Registration requires certification as a nonprofit organization, financial and criminal background checks, and annual recertification.
By law, the government officially recognizes a degree granted by a religiously-affiliated educational institution only if the religious group operating the institution is registered with the government. Non-Catholic religious groups are required to register annually with the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Vice Ministry of Worship. The Catholic Church is not subject to this requirement.
The government permits, but does not require, religious instruction in public schools, and allows parents either to educate their children at home, or to send their children to the school of their choice without sanction or restriction.
The constitution and laws provide for conscientious objection to military service based on religious beliefs.
The government supports an extensive Catholic chaplaincy program in the armed forces. A National Evangelical Chaplain Program, established in 2011, receives the same government support as the Catholic program.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Maundy (Holy) Thursday, Good Friday, Virgin of Caacupe Day (December 8), and Christmas.