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Heterodox Doctrines

During the days of Emperor Minh Mang, Christianity was persecuted primarily because of their roles in revolts against the Court.  This stemmed from the opened opposition of Le Van Duyet, one of Minh Mang's father's most trusted generals (Vietnamese: Tứ Trụ Đại Thần).  General Duyet, a strict Confucian, believed the throne should be passed to the son of the deceased Crown Prince, not the Fourth son.  The French gradually supplied Duyet with guns and ammunition, which caused Duyet to be more opened to Christianity, even though he was not one [1].  Minh Mang's Court's Annals recorded United States had several ships visited its ports but no formal relations were established.  The final visit was the HMS Peacock which carried the formal request to establish contact from President Andrew Jackson.  Minh Mang, by then, was ready to reach out to another Western power, hoping to counter the French growing influences [4].  After General Le Van Duyet's death and his nephew's opened rebellion, Emperor Minh Mang furiously put down the rebellion and began a bloody persecution of Christianity, starting with the missionaries [1].
Minh Mang's successor, Emperor Tu Duc, continued his father's tradition by further incited misunderstandings of Christianity doctrines.  Even though many in the Royal Court, including mandarins and daughters had converted to Christianity, misunderstandings still persisted. One of the biggest hindrance was that Catholic converted were not allowed to worship their ancestors, as they were only permitted to worship God.  As found in Tu Duc's decrees to executed his officials [2], Tu Duc declared:
1) While sympathetic to the uneducated mass peasants, he was unforgiving to his officials who believed in these heterodoxic doctrines.  Extreme punishments must be sanctioned, as examples to the people.
2) Life after Death was heretic and against traditional Buddhist belief in the Great Wheel of Life.
3) While Buddha only promised way of reaching Nirvana, belief in Jesus offered direct Paradise through Baptism, which misled the mass.
4) Catholic last rites were barbaric, as they related to the removal of eyes, nose and mouth.  An unfortunate misunderstanding of the sign of the Cross.[3]
2.  Royal Decrees - Missions Etrangères de Paris.