What is Catholicism – Troubleinthepeace



Public opinion at that time, especially among the intelligentsia, reacted strongly. The history of Vietnam under many dynasties, although sometimes Confucian Buddhism was worshiped by the whole country, from kings and officials to scholars to the people, but these religions have never been called the national religion or the religion of the people. government. Now, to promote a religion (which was once a foreign agent) as the state religion is blatantly contrary to the national tradition, so the word “Catholic” has become the subject of criticism. and gossip, openly but also secretly, in the newspapers for many months. The people demanded that the government separate religion from politics to avoid future manipulation of the government.

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In everyday life, Words and Words are used to convey ideas, but have we ever suddenly thought of the “true meaning” or the origin of words often used on the tip of the tongue?


Procession of a French Archbishop in front of a cathedral. Photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/13476480
N07/5813368551/ (Illustrated owner)

Sometimes, it is from those random questions that you will be surprised to find so many thoughts about life, about the human state, about people and sometimes interesting lessons about history…

For example, to call a cult of God based in Rome, foreigners simply call “Catholics”, but their Vietnamese language is very complicated: Catholicism, Christianity, Christianity, Catholicism, Christianity, and more recently… Catholicism.

Among these proper nouns, the two words “catholic” stand alone in meaning because the names God, christ, christ, christ all come from the name of the patriarch. God, but what is “catholic”? The noun catholic has existed in Vietnamese words for centuries like other Sino-Vietnamese nouns, the word “catholic” may have been introduced into Vietnamese from the first days when Chinese civilization followed the footsteps of the Chinese army. China invaded and colonized Giao Chi district in the first and second centuries.

The word “Cong” in Vietnamese has two different meanings:

1- “Government” means work, work power, what touches hands and feet. This is the meaning that compound words such as “labor”, “effort”, “public channel”, “engineering”, “work”, “worker”, …

2- “Public” also has the second meaning, which is common to all, common to everyone, issued and controlled by the state. <1> as in “public authority”, “public”, “justice”, “instrument”, …

The word “Cong” in the noun Catholic has the second meaning above, and “catholic” is defined as “the religion recognized as the official religion” (according to the Sino-Vietnamese dictionary of Nguyen Van Khon, 1960). “Official” here means recognized by the government. The Vietnamese Dictionary of Le Ngoc Tru and Le Van Duc defines it more clearly:

Catholicism: (a) The religion recognized by the state as the official religion of that country, (b) Catholicism in Vietnam. <2> <3>

Thus, “catholic” has two meanings: (i) the official religion of the country, and (ii) Christianity or Christianity.

The former meaning (i) has existed in Vietnamese words for centuries, and the latter meaning (ii) was introduced from when? <4>

Words come and go in life differently from people or dust. Humans are born to know when they are born, rocks and soil can use radioactive isotope C14 to measure the exact age, but what about words? With language, it is impossible to determine the date when a noun was born, but it is not difficult to know in which era a noun was born or became popular!

Many words are created but never “born” or “formed”, that is, entered the language of the masses, but on the contrary just wandered around in a group of people, and then died over time!

A word is only “formed” when that word is used in newspapers, on daily news, reminded over and over again to gradually seep into the listener’s subconscious and one day step into the world. into everyday language without the speaker’s knowledge. Nouns such as “station” (train), “soap”, “non-goat” hair (curly hair), airstrip, railway, etc. could not have existed before the French colonial period, because things that could not have been present before the French invaded Vietnam. And of course, reading in Vietnamese ancient literature before the 18th century will never find any trace of those words..

Therefore, one of the ways for linguists to look up the origin of a certain word is to look it up in literature, dictionaries, books, historical documents, and even folklore. … to confirm the birth of a word.

The word “catholic” does not go beyond that custom!

Vietnamese books and newspapers before the 60’s When referring to Catholics, use the words Catholic, Catholic, Christian or Christian. Writing about Catholics, Dao Duy Anh’s book Vietnam Culture Su Cuong (1938), recorded that: “From the 16th and 17th centuries, Christianity was transmitted by Portuguese and French missionaries. In our country, there is a new religion according to the Roman ecclesiastical rite…” <5>

The entire Vietnam History by Tran Trong Kim (written around 1950) does not use the word “catholic”. Catholic nouns are also absent from literary works written before the 1950s. <6>

Thus, through the study based on the time-based use of the above language, we can conclude that the two words “catholic” were used to refer to Catholics (Christian, Catholic, God, …) in the late 50s or early 60s.

Why “Catholic” and not Christian or Catholic…? In more than four thousand years of history, there were dozens of religions that have entered and circulated in Vietnam, but there were no two words “Luong” or “Teaching”, until the 16th and 17th centuries, when Christianity was introduced then those two words were born to distinguish people in religion (Christians) and people… infidels!

Unlike the missionary history of Christianity, the missionary history of another denomination also worships the same God as Protestantism. does not bring scandal or create any confusion in the history of anti-foreign invasion of Vietnam. Protestantism was introduced to Vietnam around 1911 by American missionaries.<7> But the Vietnamese public did not see it The silhouette of the French colonialists was hidden behind the image of foreign missionaries (also white). And no one, not even the king, is oppressive or shy about spreading the gospel. Protestants also never distinguish themselves as Leong or Giao, because “Sao” refers to Catholics, and Luong refers to all the rest. Then, if there is a distinction between Salary and Religion, then Protestants also belong to the category of … “Salary” then..

After nearly 100 years of evangelism, there was no sheep or pastor.”martyrdom“All good news. For the simple reason that Protestant pastors never get involved in politics, or borrow the hands of the authorities to preach the word of God.

Together preaching the word of God, one side came with many “misunderstandings” (or “mainly”?), while the other side came very smoothly and was welcomed by the Vietnamese people into the great culture of the nation!

The idea of ​​​​making Christianity the “religion of the government” arose from the French colonial period in the government and clergy of the French protectorate and in the The native priest forgot he was Vietnamese. In the last holy years of the Colonial regime, the word “catholic” was used only by some priests in a limited way among the faithful. Writer Nguyen Vy, in his political autobiography “Tuan, a Vietnamese Boy” (page 132) commented that: “…But the French authority is strong, the Catholic force that the French colonialists consider as a public justice. teaching and protecting, respecting, spreading everywhere…” shared in a clause with 2 meanings other together. This means that until Mr. Nguyen Vy wrote this work, “Catholic” not yet must be a Catholic name> .

The fathers’ hearts wished to “expand everywhere” like this, but the political situation at that time did not allow these priests to make Christianity a state or “public” religion. This dream has to wait until twenty years later, when the younger brother of the ambitious Bishop Ngo Dinh Thuc, Ngo Dinh Diem, came to power in the South!

Everyone knows that using the word “Catholic” in the Vietnamese language, there are at least three things wrong:

■ To call a religion, Vietnamese people (or most countries in the world) use founder’s name develop a religion or philosophy of that religion called Buddhism (Buddha, Buddhism), Confucianism (Confucius, Confucianism), Taoism (Lao Tsu, Taoism); or take the name of the nation, ethnicity gave birth to that religion to name it as Hinduism (India, Hinduism), Islam (Muslim, Islam), Judaism (Jews, Judaism), Anglicanism (English, Anglican), etc.. And also according to the same principle. That is why Vietnamese people (or most countries in the world) have called Catholics Catholicism (Jesus, Jesus), or Christianity (Christ), or Christianity..

Before the 1950s, the Vietnamese were not call Catholics are “Catholics” because there is no founder named “Cong” or a nation named “Cong”. The word “Catholic” appears only, as demonstrated by some of the texts above, since the Ngo Dinh Diem regime.

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■ Today, the young Vietnamese generation will associate Catholicism with justice, justice, and charity. This is funny because people with basic Sino-Vietnamese understand that in the compound noun justice, the word Binh is . justicethe word Cong is just modifier (contact the government). Likewise, in the compound noun “justice”, the word Minh (wisdom) is the main, just as charity comes from the word Ai (which is love). Therefore, if the word catholic is just and just, why don’t we use the righteous meaning (peace, dawn), call this religion Binh Giao or Minh Giao, but use the word modifier (public) to call it Congregation? teacher?

■ In addition, the two words Tao and Tao in Vietnamese are used to refer to a religion as we still call Confucianism as Confucianism, Islam as Islam, Buddhism as Buddhism, etc.. Thus, from now on, call it. Catholicism is … Catholicism is certainly not wrong!

The proponents of the word “Catholic” must have been smart enough to understand the paradox, mistake and inadequacy but still reluctantly or stubbornly doing it because Cesar’s decision to change from “Christian” to “Catholic” was the first step in Cesar’s ambition to turn God’s teachings into words. turned President Ngo Dinh Diem into King Constantine (the emperor who nationalized Christianity to the Roman Empire).

In parallel with the religious name change, the Catholic Can Lao Party was also born to support the government. Can Lao Party facilities from the central to local levels are under the leadership or advice of bishops and priests. Can Lao Party monopolizes anti-Communism and monopolizes governance Therefore, other national parties such as Vietnam Nationalist Party, Duy Dan, Dai Viet, Dan Xa, etc. were suppressed because of “anti-Communist” and Can Lao already took care of them.

Can Lao Party members are mostly Catholics. Important positions in the public administration must be held by Can Lao party members. In many localities, especially in the Central region, when new members of the Can Lao Party join the party, they must take an oath with the sentence: “…Sworn to destroy Buddhism, Demons and Nationalist parties…” (according to Awakening magazine) by veteran journalist To Van, number 115, 116, Los Angeles). After the Diem regime was overthrown, the Can Lao party, which once shouted fire with dangerous secret services, was completely disbanded because the interests of those who joined the party were no longer there. After 1975, overseas, a group of remnants of old party members try to revive the party by distorting historybut this effort only creates more adverse reactions for them.yes>

Today, if someone asks about the two words “Catholicthe fathers will explain the meaning differently<8> because the fathers no longer have governmental power. But in Ngo Dinh Diem’s ​​time, using the word Catholic instead of Christianity, you wanted to let the Vietnamese people know that This religion is supported by the government as a state religion. Those were both implicit and explicit messages sent to the Vietnamese intelligentsia at that time. The second advantage of evangelism is that for people with little education, low neck and small mouth, the two words “catholic” and the image of the Can Lao Party have created something for those who preach the word of God. threatening power of the state. The priest’s words are the words of the “public” of the right, the orders of the Fathers are the policy of the country.

The name change of a Church was formalized and scaled up with the backing of the authorities of the time. The propaganda system and administrative system of the First Republic are used to the fullest extent to formalization this new title. The two words “Catholic” appeared in government official documents, in books and newspapers, repeated many times on radio stations with the aim of gradually instilling in the minds of South Vietnamese intellectuals and masses.

Public opinion at that time, especially among the intelligentsia, reacted strongly. The history of Vietnam under many dynasties, although sometimes Confucian Buddhism was worshiped by the whole country, from kings and officials to scholars to the people, but these religions have never been called the national religion or the religion of the people. government. Now promote a religion (was a minority who used to be a henchman for a foreign country) becoming the state religion is blatantly contrary to the national tradition, so the word “Catholic” has become the subject of criticism and gossip, openly but also secretly, in the newspapers for many years. month. The people demanded that the government separate religion from politics to avoid future manipulation of the government.

But once the old government man wears a cross, and his hand holds the balance of Justice, holds the public authority, holds the Instruments of violence (secret agents, police, police, Can Lao party, Special Forces, The Central Mission, Nine Ham, P42) in hand, said that this religion is “Catholic”, the whole country, even if there are disagreements, will have to suffer the “ant sues the potato” situation!

Despite public opinion and the wishes of the masses, the Ngo Dinh Diem regime and the Catholic Can Lao Party colluded with the Vietnamese Catholic Church to “cover my mouth” to impose the two strange words “Catholic”. bashful and arrogant into the Vietnamese language.

To counter this, people with a sense of legitimacy still use the proper nouns “Christianity” or “Christianity” instead of “Catholic” when speaking or writing. This is most evident in the textbooks published after the overthrow of the Diem regime. To this day, many people are still not used to using the word “Catholic” when speaking or writing, but still use the words Catholic, Christian, Christian, or Catholic. <9>

Today, the two words Catholic has lost its original meaning Vietnamese Christians with a Roman heart imposed on the Vietnamese people. The word Catholic becomes a proper noun like any other proper noun. But the proper nouns in Vietnamese all have their own particular meanings, and the two words “catholic” are separate and general, both public and private, what do they mean? Can it be forced to explain to the younger generations forever?

The intellectual level of Vietnamese people has also improved, it is difficult to cover their eyes with flowery nouns. Democracy and Humanism are on the rise in the world, can people who are full of guilt carrying “original sin” be able to fulfill their dreams? dedicate this country to God (and Our Lady) through the hands of the Pope of Rome?

The original purpose is lost! What is left of the word “catholic” but to bear witness to a sad period in history? What is left but reminding listeners of the brutal policy of a Ngo Dinh Diem regime that has been thrown into the dustbin of history by the nation? What is left but to remind the victims of the terrible holy days they are trying to forget? And what is left but defiling the word of God – which has already been corrupted by man – more?

Hundred years of stone steles wear out

Thousand years of beer, the mouth is still inert

As long as the word “Catholic” still takes the place of the word “Christianity” (or “Roman Catholicism”), that day God only means Gong, and later generations of believers still have to bear the mouth of life by the Fathers, in a moment of extravagance and foolishness under Ngo Dinh Diem, caused !

Nguyen Hy Than


<1> Vietnamese Dictionary, published by Le Van Duc and Le Ngoc Tru, Khai Tri, 1970

<2> Ibid, page 217

<3> Dao Duy Anh’s Sino-Vietnamese Dictionary defines “catholicism as a nationally recognized religion”

<4> Few young Vietnamese grew up in the US think that the word “catholic” originated from the English word “catholic” which means “general” or “universal”. This is of course a single simple-minded ! The word “catholic” and “Catholic” tatally differ in their English meaning. Not just because the two words have the same pronunciation, they can be translated interchangeably.

Besides, if the word “catholic” is a translation of a foreign word as claimed, shouldn’t it be from Dutch, Spanish, Portugese or especially French ? Weren’t those countries where all missionaries coming to Vietnam originated from ? Why English, a language virtually unpopular in Vietnam until the late 50’s ?

<5> Vietnam History of Culture by Dao Duy Anh, published in 1838, page 122

<6> A few examples are in “Seven Days in Dong Thap Muoi” (Nguyen Hien Le, 1954) using the word “Christianity” to refer to Catholics. Books and newspapers in the pre-war period (Tu Luc Van Doan …) also used only Christianity, Christianity or Christianity. Other history books such as Vietnam’s History of Tan Bien by Pham Van Son or Vietnam’s War History (published by the Military History Department of the Republic of Vietnam), in addition to the word Christianity or Catholicism, sometimes use the word Catholic. However, these two histories were released in the early 1970s, when the word “catholic” was born more than 15 years ago.

<7> Vietnam Culture Su Cuong, Dao Duy Anh, 1938, page 125.

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<8> Now, the word “public” is interpreted as public in the sense of “universal”. But this is also not okay because the universe is only one of the three attributes of the Catholic Church (the other two are Holy and One), why choose the “public/universal” attribute and not the other two? The other attribute is also much more valuable? Therefore, this explanation is just a fallacy to mislead the listener to hide a bad intention in the past.

<9> After 1975, overseas, some Vietnamese people used the group of words “Roman Catholic” to translate the word “Roman Catholic” which is an English name that is used universally by almost the whole world in all fields to refer to religion due to Vatican leadership. Perhaps this “Catholic” title, semantically as well as practically, is the most correct


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