09/17/2007, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Vietnamese Church to help fight social ills through education

by JB. VU
In an interview with AsiaNews Card Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man explains that education and training can help overcome the crises affecting the family and society caused by the country’s fast-paced and unrestrained economic development.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Card jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, archbishop of Saigon and vice chairman of the Bishops’ Council of Vietnam, wants the Church to provide both families and individuals with the necessary educational training needed to cope with the problems that affect today’s Vietnamese society, a society that is experiencing economic growth but also its associated ills like consumerism, prostitution, drugs and a moral crisis. He spoke about it with AsiaNews ahead of next month’s meeting of Vietnamese bishops.

A recent study indicated that while the economy has jumped considerably in Ho Chi Minh City, so have social problems like consumerism, prostitution, drug addictions, AIDS, the family’s moral crisis, lack of care by adults for children and teenagers, abortion. The reason is that the country’s rapid economic development is faster than its capacity to cope with the problems that the latter creates.

“The actual situation in our country is one of rising social problems parallel to its growing economic development’” the prelate said.

Lamenting the rise of a “culture of death,” he insisted that “lay people ought to take on a greater role in restoring the wellbeing of the family and of society by contributing to a culture of life and a civilisation of love, building a new human community in today’s globalisation.”

Today’s Church has an important role in education according to the cardinal, “an education based on faith, the Word of God and the teachings of the Church. These can raise awareness and trust in truth and justice, prepare for the challenge of living in honesty and respect, and teach the value of life and personal dignity.”

“These,” he stressed, “are values and fundamental orientations that define social life and can serve as solid bases for the country’s stable development.”

Card Pham Minh Man is convinced that training is important for priests, men and women religious and lay people to equip them with the means to satisfy the pastoral needs generated by the changes and development the country is undergoing.

In his opinion, “if we or somebody else want to understand what happens in the development of Vietnam or another Asian country, these can be important lessons for anyone who is sincerely interested in the social development of the country. In any event, we are Catholics and shall wait for the conclusions that the Council of Vietnamese Bishops will reach.”

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