25 February 2018

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02/13/2007 NEPAL

Elevation to Apostolic Vicariate, “pope’s gift to Nepal”

The Catholic community is happy but Hindus and Buddhists have also expressed their appreciation. They see the pope’s decision as a symbol of rediscovered secularism after the former Hindu theocracy.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – The elevation of Nepal to an Apostolic Vicariate is “Pope Benedict XVI's new year gift to the country, which won the status of a secular state only last June after being in the hands of Hindu kings for centuries.” This is what members of the small Nepalese Catholic community told AsiaNews after the Holy See announced Nepal’s elevated status on 10 February, along with the Episcopal appointment of the Prefect, Mgr Anthony Sharma.

Jitendra Ghimire, a Hindu physician who was a student of a Jesuit school in Kathmandu, told AsiaNews: “Elevating Fr Sharma to the rank of bishop is the real symbol of the liberation of Nepal, which has been genuinely converted into a secular state. I am a devout Hindu and attending a Jesuit school helped me: they explained to me that love, justice and compassion are the real ingredients of spirituality.” Thus, “I understood that defining my country as ‘Hindu’ was just a farce. The oligarchy that dominated simply exploited the Hindu religion to keep power without putting its teachings into practice.”

Bhante Girivargyana, a Buddhist monk, said he was “happy with the gift of a Catholic bishop. It is a wonderful coincidence that the first Capuchin priests came to Nepal in 1740s when the Pope was Benedict XV and now another Benedict has appointed its first bishop.”

James Thulung, a Protestant, recalled that currently in Nepal, “Christians number nearly one million out of a population of 27 million. The uniqueness of the Catholic Church has been its stress on education of all strata of Nepalese society and this has won it widespread reverence among the people.”

The Church built and runs 44 scholastic institutions and 16 social institutions where both religious and lay people work. The new Apostolic Vicariate has five parishes, six mission stations and 22 substations. There are 11 diocesan priests, 40 religious priests and 112 nuns.


See also

20/07/2010 NEPAL
Christians in Nepal from marginalized to political actors
Protestant and Catholic leaders want more space in institutions in response to political and economic stalemate that has afflicted the country for months. Bishop Sharma in Kathmandu, says: "No leader has displayed a genuine interest in people. It's high time for the Christians in Nepal to engage actively in politics".

30/03/2005 CHINA
No children allowed in Xinjiang churches

08/10/2007 NEPAL
For the first time Catholics urged to vote
The First Apostolic Vicar to Nepal, Mgr Anthony Francis Sharma, tells the faithful to go out and vote, stressing the importance of voting for those who, in good conscience, want the good of the nation. The last rampart of the last Hindu monarchy in the world falls.

31/07/2008 NEPAL
After Father Prakash’s death, threats and extortion attempts are made against Nepali Catholics
Criminals announce new attacks against Catholic faithful and religious institutions. Hindu fundamentalists are suspected. Apostolic vicar turns to Interior minister to get greater “protection and security” for the entire Christian community.

27/06/2008 NEPAL
Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu and Catholic schools to be integrated into Nepal’s education system
There are thousands of confessional schools where religion is at the heart of the curriculum. Nepal’s government is now ready to fund such schools but on the condition that they incorporate the state curriculum. Monsignor Sharma says the Church is set to create new Catholic schools.

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