Christians in India urged to split from missionaries
A Hindu nationalist group that is the ideological fountainhead of the ruling party in New Delhi, India, has urged Christians to form a national Indian church and break with foreign missionaries it accuses of wrecking national unity, Indian newspapers report.
The group, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or National Volunteers Corps, is often accused of targeting Christians and Muslims.
RSS leader Kuppahali Seetaramaiyah Sudarshan said, "Why are these foreign churches allowed to carry on their activities on our soil?" He urged the setting up of an Indian denomination along lines of the Orthodox Syrian Church.
India, a country of 1 billion people, is overwhelmingly Hindu. Muslims form 12 percent of the population and Christians just over 2 percent.
Missionary honored for work on reservation
Richard Jones, an 85-year-old Jesuit priest who has worked with American Indians in South Dakota's Rosebud Reservation for 40 years, has been honored with the Catholic Church's highest award for missionary work in America.
Monsignor Kenneth Velo, president of Catholic Extension, an organization that financially supports mission work in the United States, recently presented the 2000 Lumen Christi Award to Jones in his diocese of Rapid City, S.D.
Jones was recognized for his ability to integrate Catholic teaching with American Indian tradition.
Ukrainians report religious tendencies
Fifty-eight percent of the 2,017 adult Ukrainians surveyed in September by the independent Ukrainian Center for Social and Political Studies described themselves as religious. The rest said they had doubts about faith, were nonreligious or atheist.
The poll also found that 66 percent of believers said they belonged to the Orthodox Church. Curiously, 12 percent of the stated atheists also described themselves as belonging to the Orthodox Church.
Ukraine, like other former Soviet republics, has experienced a religious revival since the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union. The country's dominant Orthodox Church is split into rival factions, who altogether comprise some 12,500 religious congregations.