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Priest sees bright future for Church in Vietnam

Catholic World News - November 14, 2011

The vice rector of the major seminary in Ho Chi Minh City has told the Fides news agency that the future of the Church in Vietnam appears bright.

Young people, said Father Joseph Do Manh Hung, form the majority of the nation’s seven million Catholics, and “almost all” of the nation’s 80,000 catechists are young people.

“In seven major seminaries (two in the north, two in the center and three in the south) we have over 1,500 seminarians, and this abundance of vocations is a boost of confidence for us,” he continued. “Faith is strengthened, but at the same time, there is the challenge represented by the opening of a market economy, consumerism, by the civilization of image.”

“We live in a time when there is a gradual opening of the government towards the Christian faith and the Church,” he added. “In dark times, such as the one after 1975, the entire country was under Communist rule and the seminaries were closed down. They reopened in 1986 and every six years the entry of new seminarians were allowed; then every three years, then every two years, finally, in 2008, the government accepted new arrivals every year.”

“However, the list of candidates has to be sent to local authorities and have the authorization. Nevertheless, we can say that there has been a marked improvement since 1986, and today we see the fruits.”

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