Communism has been an enemy of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) for a long time, but also capitalism has been a problem. To many people, the Vietnam War did seem like a meaningless war. But Jesus said, "War must come" (see, for example, Matthew 24:6).

My questions is: Did the RCC take a stand for the Vietnam War or against it? Did they support one side? What was its official reaction?

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    What research have you done on this question? If you hover your mouse over the Down Vote button the text begins "this question does not show any research effort;" -- you can prevent down votes by doing a bit more research before posing a question. Nov 1, 2016 at 18:04
  • @KorvinStarmast I can't find a clear answer.Maybe someone here are members of The RCC and Could give an answer
    – Gerrard
    Nov 1, 2016 at 18:11
  • The position is a historical one, and is about 40 years out of date. The Viet Nam war ended in 1973 for the Americans, and about 1975 for the Vietnamese. (Since our pastor for about 10 years was from Vietnam, and is someone I am spiritually close to, I am reluctant to answer this because I may not be able to remain objective). Nov 1, 2016 at 18:15
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    This question seems to me to be on-topic here. It is a question about the historical stance of a particular denomination, the Roman Catholic Church, on the Vietnam war. Questions about church history and doctrine are on-topic here. Nov 1, 2016 at 19:17
  • @LeeWoofenden I agree that it's on topic; obviously no research done, and I'll not answer for both my stated reasons, and because I have strong objections to Papal interference outside of their areas of authority. (We can discuss in chat sometime, perhaps). I have not recommended VtC. I do ask that the usual SE standard of doing a bit of research before asking a question be adhered to. Nov 1, 2016 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


President Ngo Dinh Diem was a Catholic and brother of the traditionalist Catholic Archbishop Thuc. Diem governed according to Catholic principles, even legislating laws more in accordance with Catholic teaching. He was one of the several assassinated by the CIA coup right before the Vietnam War began. Some consider Diem a martyr much as some French consider King Louis XVI a martyr.

The Vietnam War began over a dispute between the government, run by Catholics (some even say it was nepotism), and Buddhists. Diem enacted a law that said a religious group had to petition the government first before being able to fly a flag for a religious holiday. Diem's brother Abp. Thuc celebrated his 25th anniversary of his episcopal consecration civically and with great pomp, but thereafter the government denied the Buddhists the ability to fly their flags on their religious holiday (6 May 1963), and the Buddhists became violent in protest (hence the memorable pictures of violent Buddhist self-imolations / suicides). Thereafter, there was a CIA coup to assassinate Diem (2 Nov. 1963) because, as Johnson later said, Diem was unfit for governing Vietnam. A few million Catholics regrouped into one region of Vietnam.

Diem had a love-hate relationship with the U.S. and France. France was a colonizer, but France's withdrawal from Vietnam left it unstable. The U.S. could've helped with stabilizing it, but it doesn't seem assassinating Diem helped.

At its core, the Vietnam War began as a religious war of Catholics vs. Buddhists.

Diem had an audience with Pope Pius XII, as mentioned in Miller's Misalliance p. 38.

According to this, in 1966

Pope Paul VI addresses 150,000 people in St. Peter’s Square in Rome and calls for an end to the war in Vietnam through negotiations. Although the Pope’s address had no impact on the Johnson administration and its policies in Southeast Asia, his comments were indicative of the mounting antiwar sentiment that was growing both at home and overseas.

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    Though this answer does provide some fascinating history of the Vietnam war in relation to the Catholic Church, it doesn't provide a lot of information about the main question regarding the RCC's stance on the Vietnam War. Nov 1, 2016 at 19:57
  • @KorvinStarmast Thanks for the corrections. I've also linked to the audio of Johnson speaking of Diem's assassination.
    – Geremia
    Nov 6, 2016 at 2:32
  • At its core, the Vietnam War began as a religious war of Catholics vs. Buddhists. By this are your referring to the Viet Minh's revolt against the French, before Dien Bien Phu? Nov 6, 2016 at 15:14
  • @KorvinStarmast No, I'm referring to the Buddhists vs. Catholics regarding the flag-flying ordeal I described.
    – Geremia
    Nov 7, 2016 at 15:36
  • OK, so you are confining this description to what went on south of the DMZ after 1954? I won't go off topic further, since this is a "Christianity" forum and this question involves a lot of history. Nov 7, 2016 at 15:38

This is positively bogus (saying it was a war of Catholicism versus Buddhism). It was a war against communism, plain and simple, which was perceived as a monolithic monster creating a contaminating domino effect. True, that Catholics were disproportionately politically powerful and wrongfully attempted to regulate the practice of Buddhism which the majority of Vietnamese were. The war was in reality more about colonialism versus nationalism

  • Welcome to C-SX. I do not understand your response - the question does NOT mention Buddhism; so how is your answer relevant?
    – user43409
    Jan 31, 2019 at 2:35

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