30 August, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 10/20/2011
NEPAL
Nepalese Catholics grow. A challenge to the anti-conversion laws
by Kalpit Parajuli
In 5 years the number has increased by 4 thousand. Boom in enrollments for catechism. Number of Hindus and Buddhists attending the Saturday mass equals the number of Catholics.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Catholics in Nepal are growing, despite the anti-conversion laws proposed in parliament. According to the latest estimates there are over 10 thousand, 4 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 eager to learn about Christianity, and for this reason attend Saturday mass feast day fo nepali people, they now even match the number of Catholics in attendance. Enrolment 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 5 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. "

The Catholic Church in Nepal, however, is cautious regarding the phenomenon and verifies the authenticity of each request, without giving in to pressure from those who want a less rigid and more perfunctory acceptance.

To date, those wishing to convert must follow a catechism course of three years. Minors need the consent of the family. This is to help the catechumens in the path of faith, through the verification of their behavior and real understanding of the precepts of Christianity. For the Church, proper formation is vital in recognizing the seeds of faith and supporting those who are real converts to receive baptism.

Fr. Robin Rai, pastor of the Cathedral of Kathmandu, said that the Church accepts the conversion only if based on a free and informed decision. Those who seek baptism must first understand its meaning. He adds that "in order to operate in the country, Catholics must also abide by laws restricting proselytism and the ability to change beliefs." Compliance with these rules is essential to avoid misunderstandings and maintain harmony with other religious groups.

Between 2007 and 2009 the Catholic community suffered several attacks and threats from Hindu extremists. The worst were the May 23, 2009, attack on the cathedral in Kathmandu which killed three people, and the murder of Fr John Prakash, rector of the Salesian School Sirsya (Morang), killed by unknown assailants in July 2007.

According to Fr. Rai, the situation has improved in recent years. The priests feel safer, although there are still cases of threats from Hindu fanatics. "I'm not scared - he says - I feel safe here and will continue to work for the Church."


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
11/21/2012 NEPAL
Kathmandu: Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists against abortion and child abuse
by Kalpit Parajuli
02/04/2005 INDIA
Hindu fundamentalists storm Christian prayer meeting
by Nirmala Carvalho
02/08/2011 NEPAL
Nepali Hindus and Christians: false allegations of forced conversions to Christianity
by Kalpit Parajuli
12/22/2010 NEPAL
“My first Christmas as a Christian”
by Kalpit Parajuli
10/07/2013 NEPAL
Young Nepali Hindus becoming Catholic to stop discrimination
by Kalpit Parajuli

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.