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Catholic Vietnam: A Church from Empire to Nation by Charles Keith

By Charles Keith

In this significant new learn, Charles Keith explores the complicated place of the Catholic Church in sleek Vietnamese background. through demonstrating how French colonial rule allowed for the transformation of Catholic missions in Vietnam into wide and strong financial and institutional constructions, Keith discovers the methods race outlined ecclesiastical and cultural status and keep watch over of assets and institutional authority. This, besides colonial rule itself, created a tradition of non secular existence within which relationships among Vietnamese Catholics and ecu missionaries have been much less equivalent and extra fractious than ever sooner than. even if, the colonial period additionally introduced unheard of ties among Vietnam and the transnational associations and tradition of worldwide Catholicism, as Vatican reforms to create an self sustaining nationwide Church helped Vietnamese Catholics to reimagine and redefine their relationships to either missionary Catholicism and to colonial rule itself. very similar to the myriad progressive ideologies and struggles within the identify of the Vietnamese country, this revolution in Vietnamese Catholic existence was once finally ambiguous, even contradictory: it confirmed the principles for an self sufficient nationwide Church, however it additionally polarized where of the hot Church in post-colonial Vietnamese politics and society and produced deep divisions among Vietnamese Catholics themselves.

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Additional resources for Catholic Vietnam: A Church from Empire to Nation

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If we accept that the origins of postcolonial Vietnamese regimes and identities have their roots in the colonial era, we need a language to describe them before 1945, but, precisely because they were contingent and deeply contested, there is no single term that will work in all circumstances. I therefore use the word “Vietnam” simply as shorthand to describe the three Vietnamese regions of French Indochina, and the phrase “Vietnamese Catholics” to indicate the study’s focus on those Catholics who identified as or were categorized as ethnic Vietnamese (kinh, itself admittedly a problematic category).

Catholic missions did not have legal ownership of lands belonging to individual Catholics or common lands belonging to a parish or a congregation.

In 1898 the head of the seminary in Kẻ Sở in Tonkin remembered that a water buffalo stable served as the seminary during the 1860s. 51 Such conditions placed a heavy physical burden on seminarians already expected to devote many years to their studies, and many did not last. 52 As violence receded, rebuilding and improving seminaries became a top priority. By the early years of the twentieth century, all missions had at least a minor seminary, and there were major seminaries in most. Most of them were now built out of stone or brick.

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