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Indian missionaries prepare to evangelize Bhutan

Catholic World News - January 28, 2011

Authorities in Bhutan have signaled that they will permit the registration at least one Christian organization in the landlocked Asian nation. Currently, Christians are permitted to worship in their homes but are forbidden to gather in public or spread the Gospel.

Two Indian missionary orders are preparing to enter Bhutan if the government allows them to be registered. Father Arul Raj, founder of the Society of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and the Society of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, says that the two orders, which work in education and assist the poor, “do not openly initiate conversions, instead clearly manifesting their Christian identity in work and prayer,” and thus “we have never had problems with extreme mixed Hindu groups in India, nor have we ever suffered allegations of mass conversions.”

“Many among the women and youth who partake in our programs,” he adds, “spontaneously ask to embrace the Christian faith.”

Only 1,000 of Bhutan’s 2.6 million people are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics. Some 75% of the nation’s residents are Buddhist, while approximately 25% are Hindu

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