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Catholic convent demolished in Vietnam

ICC Note:

In yet another sign that “religious freedom is under threat in Vietnam,” local authorities suddenly demolished a monastery in An Giang province.

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6/8/09 Vietnam (AsiaNews) The monastery of the Congregation of the Brothers of The Holy Family of Banam (Frères de la Sainte Famille de Banam) has been demolished by government order, a spokesman for the diocese of Long Xuyen, capital of An Giang province, reported. As a result of the sudden decision by local authorities the monastery shares the same fate of monastery of the Sisters of St Paul of Chartres in Vinh Long, Mekong Delta province.

The sudden decision to tear down the monastery took Catholic officials by surprise. They are still unaware of the authorities’ motives for the destruction and of their intention for the future use of the land. However, in the recent past many Church properties have been turned into hotels and tourist resorts.

At the same time Vietnamese Catholics are concerned for the recent government crackdown. For months now the Communist state has been involved in an anti-Catholic campaign, seizing its properties, dragging the reputation of priests and men religious through the mud, for the only reason of trying to protect the environment. For all intents and purposes the government is trying to limit the right to worship.

The demolition of the convent is thus another sign that religious freedom is under threat in Vietnam.

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