El Salvador has always been a country of very strong Roman Catholic followers. After the 1980s the Roman Catholic church gradually penetrated the social and cultural activities of the local people. The religious beliefs of the Salvadorians prior to the 1980s were not very staunch. Marriage was not a popular practice in El Salvador. Living together was prevalent, as was child birth outside wedlock. The ritual practice of 'compadrazo', i.e., selecting god parents for children, was losing popularity.
Towards the end of the 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church was deeply motivated by the social messages of Pope John XXIII and the 2nd Vatican Council. They were also influenced by the 2nd Latin American Bishop's Conference at Medellin..
After the Medellin Conference, in Columbia in 1968 the Roman Catholic Church was directed to get involved with the social lives of the common people. Activist programs to improve the living conditions of the poor were undertaken by the Church.
In El Salvador's religious history Christian Base Communities occupy an important position. They were created to encourage the people in taking social decisions independently of the Church's authority. Numerous rural communities started following the teachings of the Base Communities. Social, economic and political issues were discussed and sorted in the interactive sessions.
El Salvador religion was influenced greatly by Archbishop Chavez in the early and mid 1970s and thereafter by Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Gsldasmez.