The number of seminaries rises in Vietnam despite ongoing Christian persecution
Recent data show that there is a real boom in priestly vocations in Vietnam. New seminaries are also being created, and those that were closed during the civil war are being renewed and reopened.
The New Great Seminary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will open in the north of the country for two hundred students. The previous Lower Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary was closed in the early 1970s during the Vietnam War.
The rapidly growing needs of Vietnamese Christians can be observed by the situation at the Major Seminary of St. Joseph in Hanoi. The institution could only accept six students out of forty applicants. Some of them had to start their studies in seminaries in other regions of Vietnam; some were not able to begin their studies at all.
Today, Vietnamese authorities officially emphasise that the state is consistently implementing a policy of respecting and ensuring freedom of religion and belief. Unfortunately, many of these declarations remain only theoretical. In Vietnam, the rights of Christians are continually being violated.
Ho Chi Minh City authorities expropriated more than five hundred homes of Christian refugees from the north who fled the communists in the hope that in the south they would be able to profess faith in Christ without hindrance. Their homes were demolished, and their religious rights significantly restricted.