February 7, 2011

CNS PHOTO | SINGYE WANGCHUK, REUTERS

A statue of Buddah is pictured aft6er a snowfall in Thimphu, Bhutan

Catholic missionaries are ready to set up faith communities in Bhutan after the country announced it would accept the registration of Christians for the first time.

The Fides missionary news agency said Jan. 27 that two Catholic religious orders in India were prepared to go to Bhutan as soon as the government permits registration.

The population of the small South Asian country, which has a tiny Christian minority, is predominantly Buddhist and Hindu.

“We do not know the territory well, but if the authorities permit it, and we have the necessary conditions, we will willingly start our activities,” Father Arul Raj, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, told Fides.

In the past, the country has banned open practice of non-Buddhist and non-Hindu religions, but officials said that would change under the new policy.