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New Catholic university for Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh  (UCAN): Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc, from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, indicated that the first Catholic university to be established under Vietnam’s Communist government could see its doors opening soon.

The archbishop said, “The relationship between the Vatican and the Vietnam government is becoming better and better, so we asked and were accepted.” 

The Vatican Insider reported on December 19 that the Vietnamese government gave the green light on 6 August 2015, after year-long negotiations with the Church. 

The educational institute will offer bachelor degrees, licences and doctorates, and will eventually offer courses in psychology, science and canon law, among other subjects. 

Bishop Dinh Duc Dao, the president of the Commission for Education, told the Vatican Insider, “We are ready for the operational phase. The structure and statutes have been ratified both by the government and the Holy See. The official inauguration will take place in January and courses will begin in April.”

The new facility will be temporarily based in the offices of the bishops’ conference in Ho Chi Minh City, while a definitive base is being found on the outskirts of the city. It will also offer courses to people with the aim of training catechists and teachers. 

Archbishop Doc said that approximately 100 students will begin studying philosophy and theology.

Archbishop Doc added that in the future it may be able to serve a lot more people and it may even be possible to have an enrollment of more than 1,000  in the future.

He added that the university would eventually offer a diverse course range.

While the Church has operated schools from kindergarten through to university level in the past, it has had little freedom in the education sector, since the Communist government came to power at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

Since the 1990s, however, with the government becoming more tolerant, religious sisters have successfully set up kindergartens across the country, while wealthy individuals have opened private Catholic schools in Ho Chi Minh City—although the Church did not operate any itself.

Archbishop Doc said that the opening of the university will be a major step toward regaining control of such institutions.

 

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