This article focuses on one new Catholic family in a country sandwiched between Russia and China.
In 2012, when the Mongolian Catholic Church celebrated its 20th anniversary
Now I understand why it is described as the world’s newest church. Twenty years isn’t very long, especially considering that Christianity has been around for 2000 years.
According to the article, missionaries arrived early in the 20th century but left under Soviet persecution. After the Soviet Union dissolved, the government of Mongolia formally invited the Catholic Church to return.
Sadly, although the government welcomed the Church, during the past 20 years the popular culture has developed a resentment of foreigners. This is in part due to the extreme poverty of the country, and the influx of Chinese and South Koreans businesses which are extracting minerals from the country. Along with the economic change is the importation of Chinese and South Korean popular culture, which is much flashier than what can be made in the country. The cultural influx has displaced Mongolian identity, to some degree and many Mongolians feel they are losing control of their country. As a result it has made a significant portion of the population resentful, even violent, towards outsiders.
Because Mongolia is historically Buddhist, the Catholic Church has been increasingly perceived as an invader. This has greatly complicated missionary work. It has also increased the difficulty of the lives of ordinary Mongolians who are Catholic.
This is truly a new church, one which is taking its first steps as a toddler. It needs our support.