Roman Catholicism in Vietnam

Published:  03:45 Tuesday - November 15, 2011 Despite the Roman Catholic Church's rejection of ancestor worship, a cornerstone of the Confucian cultural tradition, Roman Catholicism established a solid position in Vietnamese society under French administration.

Pray for the Catholics of Vietnam

Pray for the Catholics in Vietnam

To the French, Roman Catholicism brought about a balance between Buddhism and the Western culture. After the mid-1950s, Catholicism declined in the North, where the communists regarded it as a reactionary force opposed to national liberation and social progress. In the South, by contrast, Catholicism expanded during the Ngo Dinh Diem regime, which the Catholics filled key positions in the government, the army, and the police against North Vietnam.

By November 1977, the Government of Vietnam allowed religious freedom for the Catholics with the condition that all Catholic organizations will be under the control of the communist government. To bring forth the support of the Vietnamese Catholics the communist government established the Unified Bishops’ Council of Vietnam and the Committee for Solidarity of Patriotic Catholics.

Today there are about three million Christians in Vietnam, most of them Catholics. Although they represented a small percentage of the population, the Catholics played an important role in the political life of Vietnam during the last three decades prior to the fall of Saigon in 1975.

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