08/27/2008, 00.00
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After 30 years Caritas is reborn in Vietnam

by Nguyen Hung
The government approves bishops’ request to use the name for their “charitable and social activities.” This will allow for a more unified approach at a national, diocesan and parish levels. However Caritas Internationalis does not get the go ahead.
Dong Nai (AsiaNews) – “A new phase begins for the Church of Vietnam,” said Mgr Nguyen Chu Trinh, bishop of Xuan Loc and chairman of the Committee of Charitable and Social Activities of the Vietnam Bishops’ Council. His assessment of the government’s decision to allow the rebuilding a Vietnam chapter of Caritas is quite positive.

Forced to shut down in June 1976, Caritas Vietnam will be able to operate again thanks to a decision announced to the Bishops’ Committee by Nguyen The Doanh, head of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs.

In a letter dated 2 July, the “Committee for Religious Affairs authorised the Committee of Charitable and Social Activities of the Vietnam Bishops’ Council to use the name Vietnam Caritas and register its social activities.” The name “can be used in every diocese by registering its charitable and social activities with the People’s Committee in every province, city or at central level.”

Caritas internationalis will not however be able to operate. The “government has not yet laid down the principles that would regulate the activities of international NGOs.”

“Vietnam Caritas is based on Vietnam’s law and regulations and comes under the supervision of the government’s Office for Religions and Religious Association Activities as well the office in charge of NGOs.”

In view of certain national and international aspects, Monsignor Chu Trinh said that “this action by the government is good for the Vietnamese Church. For us this is the start of a new phase. From now on the charitable and social activities by the Bishops’ Council can be organised and managed according to a unified approach, from the parish level to the diocese and the centre instead of being scattered like before.”

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