In the middle of the 19th century, when the Kingdom of Cambodia was all but destroyed by war, the Catholic communities almost disappeared.
In 1850 the Holy See established the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh, covering all the Kingdom of Cambodia, and in 1968 the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh was divided into three: Phnom Penh, Kompong Cham and Battambang.
In 1970 the “Sangkaha”, or mutual aid organization was established as the Church’s instrument to assist the victims of war. It was later called Caritas Cambodia. Mgr. Yves Ramousse was appointed in the early sixties as Bishop of Phnom Penh, and Mgr. Joseph Chhmar Sala was appointed as Cambodian Bishop Coadjuntor in April 1975. In that same month the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh. All foreigners were soon expelled and the cities were emptied of people.