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Corruption drives persecution of Church in Vietnam

Catholic World News - June 14, 2011

The greed of local Communist officials is a major contributing factor to the persecution of the Church in Vietnam, according to the director of AsiaNews.

“In some ways there is more freedom, but all these freedoms depend on the will of the government, which sometimes will allow or withdraw it,” said Father Bernardo Cervellera. “The seminaries, which before were limited to a fixed number of candidates, have now been opened, and there are more and more vocations.”

“In some areas of Vietnam, for example in the north and among the hill tribes, there is still violence,” he added. “In Sung La and other dioceses, and other smaller cities and villages, Catholics cannot celebrate Masses for Christmas or Easter and are prohibited from having catechesis and teaching their children the faith because the local government does not allow any expression of faith at all. In practical terms, they want to destroy the Catholic faith.”

Analyzing the causes of the persecution, Father Cervellera said that

Most of the violence against the Catholic Church now in Vietnam happens because of graft and corruption of the Communist Party cadres. Vietnam is in transition. Prior to this transition there was a centralized Communist economy. Now they are moving toward a capitalistic economy and because of this, many cadres of the Communist Party are taking over and becoming owners of buildings … Yes, these Communist cadres take these properties to be their own and develop them as resorts or villas to be later sold in the growing real estate market in Vietnam. The Church however is trying to claim these properties back. It has happened in Hanoi, Saigon, Vinh, and in many places--and the Catholics are right in their request. The response of the Communist regime has been violent. They arrest or beat these Catholics who have demanded a return of their lawful properties.

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