Heather Marie Stur, associate professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, is a Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam, where she is spending the 2013-14 academic year as a visiting professor in the international relations department at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City. She received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an M.A. in history from Marquette.
In the fall of 1969, a reporter for the Saigon-based magazine Đối Diện, a monthly Catholic publication, interviewed Father Nguyễn Ngọc Lan about his position on the Vietnam War and prospects for peace. Father Lan was a known peace advocate, which had led some to label him communist-leaning. When the reporter asked him about the accuracy of the label, he replied that if desiring peace and caring for the poor made him a communist, so be it. The way Fr. Lan saw it, if a peace settlement led the warring halves of Vietnam to be united under a communist government, that would be better than to remain at war while a corrupt non-communist government continued to hold power in Saigon. What should we choose, the priest asked, if given the choice between war and peace? Continue reading ‘Can a Vietnamese Catholic Be a Communist?’