Vietnamese Government appropriating Major Seminary of Vinh Long

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GNsP (Sept. 11, 2015) – Vinh Long authorities have planned to turn the Major Seminary of Vinh Long Diocese into an 21,036.8 square metre amusement park for youth, according to a petition circulating around Vinh Long Diocese initiated by Reverend Father Peter Duong Van Thanh, Diocesan Administrator.

20151009_dcvvinhlongThis leisure centre project was carried out on December 21st, 2011. 60 billion VND was spent on resonstructing Vinh Long Youth Centre, which had been built on the land of the Major Seminary of Vinh Long Diocese. Six months later, on May 7th 2012, the investment capital was raised up to 138 billion VND.

The amusement park was situated on the the infrastructure where the seminarists of three dioceses of Can Tho, My Tho and Vinh Long were formed to be come the priests. However, it was seized on September 7th, 1977. Since then, the authorities used it for the wrong purposes, changing it into an address of entertainment and businesses.

Rev. Father Peter Thanh said that the representatives of Vinh Long Diocese had talks with authorities on July 18 2012 to suggest the government return the buildings to the diocese to meet the religious needs. The communist authorities promised to deal with this issue in writing. However, no response has been received for the past three years.

The Catholic population of Vinh Long Diocese is approximately 200,000. It is the only diocese in Vietnam without a bishop since August 2013 and now in urgent pastoral needs.

Since 1975, the communist government has looted and destroyed many religious places of worship particularly in Hanoi, Nha Trang, Da Lat and Saigon. Human rights organisations have previously criticised the religious violations and mistreatments in Vietnam.

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Translator: Paul Tran Minh Nhat

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