By Charles Keith

In this crucial new learn, Charles Keith explores the advanced place of the Catholic Church in glossy Vietnamese heritage. by means of demonstrating how French colonial rule allowed for the transformation of Catholic missions in Vietnam into extensive and strong financial and institutional constructions, Keith discovers the methods race outlined ecclesiastical and cultural status and keep an eye on of assets and institutional authority. This, in addition to colonial rule itself, created a tradition of non secular lifestyles within which relationships among Vietnamese Catholics and eu missionaries have been much less equivalent and extra fractious than ever prior to. although, the colonial period additionally introduced unparalleled ties among Vietnam and the transnational associations and tradition of world Catholicism, as Vatican reforms to create an self reliant 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 lifestyles was once eventually ambiguous, even contradictory: it verified the principles for an autonomous nationwide Church, however it additionally polarized where of the recent Church in post-colonial Vietnamese politics and society and produced deep divisions among Vietnamese Catholics themselves.

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Extra info for Catholic Vietnam: A Church from Empire to Nation

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Colonial public health system after 1904. However, more institutions came under the direction of other Catholic orders. The most influential was the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres (Dòng Nữ Tu Thánh Phaolô), which focused on education and child welfare. In 1860 the order came to Saigon, where its members administered MEP-­founded institutions and founded more orphanages, day nurseries, and dispensaries in the city and nearby areas. 49 Although administration and finances remained under the control of French nuns, Vietnamese made up almost all of the labor force in most such establishments.

At the time of the Nguyễn defeat of the Tây Sơn in 1802, far fewer Catholics in Co­chin­ china lived in tightly clustered socioreligious units than in Annam or Tonkin. 21 This first meant that many Catholic population centers were further dispersed, not concentrated. However, continued violence in the two decades preceding the French invasion helped concentrate many Catholics around large towns such as Saigon, where many Catholics from southern provinces fled in the 1850s and early 1860s. By the early colonial era, decades of violence and a pro-­Catholic French military regime in Co­chin­china had largely eroded communitarian coexistence and had begun to concentrate Catholics together more than in the past.

39 Despite basic commonalities among villages, social geography greatly affected Catholic associational life. Much collective life in Vietnamese villages was historically centered around associations that organized mutual aid when members of the community built or repaired a house, held a wedding or funeral, had financial troubles, or suffered from a drought, flood, or other natural disaster. In areas where Catholics were a minority, they regularly crossed communitarian boundaries in their associational life.

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