Catholics in Vietnam Defy Government

Catholics in three northwestern Vietnamese provinces have defied a government ban on religious activities by gathering at people’s homes to pray. Joseph Nguyen Van Tien, who lives in Dien Bien province’s Muong Ang district, said that he started inviting local Catholics to pray at his home three months ago. “I am very happy that 120 local Catholics now gather regularly at my home on Sundays to pray,” he said. “We fear nothing because we gather to pray for ourselves to live better lives and for our relatives on their death anniversaries,” said Tien. “We do not cause public disorder.” Pastoral activities for Catholics in Dien Bien and Lai Chau provinces, where religious activities are banned, started in 2007, says Father Pierre Nguyen Thanh Binh from Sa Pa church in Lai Chau. At that time, small Catholic communities gathered at homes for prayers. There are now more than 4,000 Catholics attending such meetings. Many Catholics say they want the local government to recognize their religious activities and allow them to build churches.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Celebrating Mass was wonderful the first time I did it 63 years ago. It is, if possible, even more wonderful today.
John Jay HughesApril 27, 2017
House Republicans are making a last-ditch effort to “reform and repeal” the Affordable Care Act before the clock runs out on the Trump administration’s first 100 days on Saturday, April 29.
Kevin ClarkeApril 27, 2017
Death-row inmate Ledell Lee. A ruling from the state Supreme Court allowing officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says was misleadingly obtained cleared the way for Arkansas to execute Ledell Lee on Thursday, April 20, 2017, although he still had pending requests for reprieve. (Arkansas Department of Correction via AP)
To take Holy Communion in the face of death is to say that it is fellowship, and not food, that matters most.
Terrance KleinApril 26, 2017
A man rides a bicycle past a billboard with an image of Pope Francis April 26 ahead of the pontiff's April 28-29 visit to Cairo. (CNS photo/Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters)
“Peace be with you” was the message of the Risen Jesus to his disciples on the first Easter, and it is the message Francis will bring to the Muslim and Christian communities in this land.
Gerard O'ConnellApril 26, 2017