Friday, October 21, 2011

AsiaNews: Catholicism growing in Nepal.

AsiaNews yesterday reported that the Roman Catholic Church has been experiencing rapid and dramatic growth in predominantly Hindu Nepal, despite occasional attacks on Christians and government efforts to thwart religious conversions. Here is an excerpt from yesterday's report:
Catholics in Nepal are growing, despite the anti-conversion laws proposed in parliament. According to the latest estimates there are over ten thousand, four thousand more than in 2006, the year of the fall of the monarchy and the proclamation of a secular state.

AsiaNews sources emphasize that the Hindus and Buddhists [who are] eager to learn about Christianity, and for this reason attend Sunday Mass, now even match the number of Catholics in attendance. Enrollment in catechism classes for the years 2011-2012 have exceeded the places available. This is a challenge to conservative politicians who have recently proposed a series of laws in parliament to put a halt on conversions. They dismiss any act of communicating one's faith to another person as proselytism and more serious cases considered carry a penalty of five years in prison.

Bhim Rai, a catechist at the Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption in Kathmandu, said that this year the number of young people and adults of other faiths has increased. "The students," he says, "come from all social classes. Most of them are of Hindu tradition, but there are many Buddhists. At Easter 2012, 25 young catechumens will be baptized."
To read the rest, click here. For more information on the Roman Catholic Church in Nepal, take a look at this March 2010 interview with Bishop Anthony Francis Sharma, a Nepalese Jesuit who four years ago become the country's first Catholic bishop. AMDG.

P.S.: If you're wondering whether or not there are any Nepalese Orthodox Christians (I was wondering, so I did some Googling), the answer is apparently yes, though the Orthodox presence in the Himalayas is both very new and very small. There doesn't seem to be much on the Internet about Orthodoxy in Nepal, but you can find some information on the topic here and here.


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