Showing posts with label Vietnam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vietnam. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Bergoglio's Contradictory Models for Cardinals

What connects Cardinals Casaroli and Nguyên Van Thuân, what makes them different?

On August 27, Pope Francis created new cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica, modeling them on two well-known more recent confreres.

(Rome) Pope Francis created 19 new cardinals during an extraordinary consistory on Saturday 27 August. For the first time in recent Church history, a cardinal uprising took place in midsummer. Francis suggested role models for the new wearers of the purple.

Three months ago, the head of the Church had unexpectedly announced a renewed expansion of the College of Cardinals, although the electoral body had not yet needed to be filled up. The maximum number of papal electors was expanded by Paul VI., but at the same time fixed at 120 cardinals. This number is now significantly exceeded.

More unusual was that Francis scheduled the consistory for the creation of cardinals in midsummer, fueling two kinds of speculation: his possible resignation or plans for renewed corona restrictions in the winter half-year (or concerns about such) that would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the College of Cardinals to meet.

All the cardinals-elect were present in Rome on Saturday, including Msgr Richard Kuuia Baawobr, the unknown bishop of Wa in Ghana. It was still possible for him to get there, but then he suffered a fainting spell, "something with the heart," said Francis, which is why his creation will only take place soon. A date for this has not yet been given.

In his homily, Francis named two deceased confreres as role models for the cardinals to aspire to - two quite contrasting churchmen: Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli (1914-1998) and Cardinal François Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân (1928-2002), Archbishop of Saigon in Vietnam.

Cardinal Casaroli, as the Vatican's top diplomat, was responsible for the controversial "Ostpolitik" towards the communist dictatorships. According to the official interpretation, the Holy See thereby eased the fate of the persecuted Church behind the Iron Curtain. However, this had its price: the Church remained silent on Marxism and its real-socialist derivatives. In fact, since John XXIII. a current in the Church, some of which openly sympathized with socialism and strived for the unification of socialism and Christianity. 

Cardinal Nguyên Van Thuân, on the other hand, was a victim of communism and was considered one of the "living martyrs". He had to spend thirteen years in a real-socialist prison belonging to his tormentors, from 1975 to 1988, when his release was obtained through diplomatic channels on condition that he go into exile. John Paul II called him to the Roman Curia and made him head of a dicastery. 

In his homily, Francis, in connection with Cardinal Casaroli, had Pope John XXIII. mentioned, while in the official text version of the website of the Holy See John Paul II appears. A Freudian slip of the tongue, as some Vaticanists thought with a smile?

How do two such contradictory moments in recent Church history fit together? This question was heard repeatedly over the past weekend. Pope Francis did not ask them, because the relationship to socialism that shaped both figures was not an issue. Cardinal Casaroli was mentioned by Francis because he frequently visited a prison for juvenile delinquents in Rome; Cardinal Nguyên Van Thuân for praying for his jailers. Both cases had pastoral aspects. The reasons and background why Nguyên Van Thuân had "jailer" remained hidden.

Pope Francis said:

"A cardinal loves the Church, always with the same spiritual fire, whether he is concerned with big or small issues, whether he is meeting the great of this world - he must do that, very often - or the little ones who are great before God. I am thinking, for example, of Cardinal Casaroli, justly famous for his open-mindedness, with which he accompanied the new possibilities of Europe after the Cold War with an intelligent and patient dialogue - and God forbid that human short-sightedness should close horizons from him again! But in God's eyes the visits he made regularly to the young inmates of a juvenile prison in Rome, where he was called "Don Agostino," are equally valuable. He practiced great diplomacy - the martyrdom of patience, such was his life - and at the same time he visited the youth of Casal del Marmo weekly.  And how many such examples could be cited! I remember Cardinal Van Thuân, who in another significant historical context of the 20th century was called to shepherd the people of God and at the same time inspired by the fire of Christ's love to care for the soul of the jailer who guarded his cell door. These people were not afraid of the "big", of the "maximum", but they also got involved with the everyday "small". After a meeting where Cardinal Casaroli reported to John Paul II on his last mission - I don't know, whether in Slovakia or in the Czech Republic, one of these countries, it was a question of high politics – the Pope called him on leaving and said: “Ah, monsignor, one more thing: do you keep going to these young prisoners?” – “Yes ’ – ‘Never leave them!’. The great diplomacy and the small pastoral matter. That is the heart of a priest, the heart of a cardinal.”

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image : (screenshot)

Trans: Tancred


Saturday, April 5, 2014

"Prayed Rosary With the Chains" -- Nguyen Huu Cau Freed After 40 Years in Prison

(Saigon) Persecuted by the communist regime, he used the chains that robbed him of   freedom to pray the rosary. Nguyen Huu Cau converted to Christ in prison. A few days ago he was released after more than 37 years in prison and a prison camp. "In 1986, I was baptized at the Easter Vigil by the Jesuit Joseph Nguyen". Cau described in an interview with Catholic News the hard fate of Vietnamese Catholics. The Jesuit priest was the one who told him about Christ in custody   and taught him the catechism. Since then, "I have prayed the Rosary every day seven times  and Stations of the Cross five times," said Nguyen Huu Cau-.
After futile attempts reeducation, Cau was released  last 22 March. 32 years spent as  the "enemy of the people" in prison and more than five years in a concentration camp. After his release, he said: "I thank God that He has forgiven my jailers."
Due to severe torture during his detention, Nguyen Huu Cau-is now deaf and almost blind. "In prison, I've gotten to know Christ and found to faith."

Prison camp Z30A K2 in the jungle

Cau was born in 1947. He served in the South Vietnamese army and became a captain. As such, he fought against the Communists of North Vietnam and the South Vietnamese Communists. When the Communists won in 1975, he was arrested and disappeared for several years in a concentration camp. In 1980 he was released from the camp, but in 1982 re-arrested because he had made hints on manuscripts of his poetry, that could have been criticism of the Communist regime.

From the Death Penalty to Life Imprisonment

In 1983 he was convicted of "sabotage" and damage to the reputation of the party and sentenced by the government as "an enemy of the people" to death. Later the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. For 32 years   Cau had been in the prison camp Z30A K2  in the middle of the jungle. He wrote more than 500 letters  to the Communist regime and called for the resumption of his trial. He never received a response. On 22 March 2014 he was released from prison 39 years after his first arrest. The release was due to an amnesty granted by Vietnam's State President Truong Tan Sang because of the precarious health of Nguyen Huu Cau-.

The Hardest Rosary of the World

 Cau prayed the Rosary "on the chain to which I was chained. It had 90 rings. I have made from the chain that took my freedom, my own personal rosary. From Father Joseph Nguyen Cong Doan, who was himself a prisoner, "I got to know the love of God. So I could even compose a song that is dedicated to the Holy Cross, which has carried me in an earthly captivity." Father Nguyen works today at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem.

Forgiveness for His Tormentors

Before his conversion, Nguyen-Huu Cau kept his hatred against the Communist regime and against his tormentors alive. He hoped someday to be able to take revenge for what they did to him. Several times he thought at the time of suicide to escape captivity. "But the love of God and the Blessed Mother have changed me. I feel no hatred more for my tormentors. The Holy Trinity and Mary helped me to overcome my strife with my fate. Have prevented me from being killed  while in custody all these years. "
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: Tempi
Trans: Tancred

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Vietnamese Police Crush Catholic Protest With Brutal Violence

Edit: here's the translation of Katholisches.  Usually, it's on Asianews, but since they haven't translated it into English yet, here it is:

(Hanoi) The Vietnamese police attacked a peaceful rally of Catholics in the parish of My yen. With batons, electric pulse weapons, tear gas and shots in the air with live ammunition, the Vietnamese police took action against several hundred Catholics who were demonstrating for the release of two parishioners. The two Catholics are in prison without charge since June. According to witnesses, it was one of the bloodiest and most brutal of anti-Christian police actions in recent years.

Several dozen Catholics were arrested. The number of injured is much higher. The seriously injured were taken to Hanoi. Several of them are in  serious condition. My Yen is in the province of Nghe An, a coastal area in the central north of the country.

According to pro-government state television on Wednesday the Catholics drew up in the wee hours of the church near the seat of the People's Committee of Nghi Phuonh in Nghi Loc District. They demanded the release of Ngo Van Khoi and Nguyen Van Hai. On the evening before about a 1,000 Catholics had been demonstrating for their release. The authorities had announced after numerous petitions of the parish, the release of the two Catholics, without any conditions. The two men are still in custody

Radio Free Asia reported, the police appeared in front of the parish church of My Yen firing warning shots to disperse and to intimidate the Catholics. As they would not retreat, "the police came beating with batons and electric batons on the demonstrators." One of the Redemptorist affiliated websites has published numerous photos of some of critically injured Catholics. Many have head injuries. According to witnesses, about 3,000 police officers and soldiers had been used against the Catholics. Doctors were prevented from coming to the aid of the injured.

The two Catholics, Ngo Van Khoi and Nguyen Van Hai had been arrested in June by a special command of the security forces. Since then they are in detention, without  officially being charged of a crime. The families were initially told that they were for "disturbing public order" and in security custody. >Since this "disorder" is said to have taken place, it has not been clarified.

Vietnam has resisted   demands for religious freedom  and continued repression. The security forces take action against bloggers, dissidents and human rights activists who are calling for the right to religious freedom.  In 2013 more than 40 human rights activists have been arrested for "crimes against the state".  The arrests are made on the basis of a provision that classifies general and vague human rights groups as "subversive". In January, 14 were Vietnamese, including several Catholics, were sentenced to long prison terms on charges of "attempting to overthrow the government. A judgment that has been branded by many human rights organizations as political despotism.

Text: Asianews/Giuseppe Nardi
Bild: Asianews
Trans: Tancred

Friday, July 19, 2013

Latin Mass in Hanoi: Travel Impressions of a Healthy Church

(Hanoi) The situation of Christians in Vietnam, one of the last Communist "paradises", is very difficult. The regime varies in its dealing with the Catholic Church and sees it as a competitor of his absolute claim to power. Vietnam still triggers shudders from Americans of the middle and older generation and is equally known by Europeans. The north of the country in 1954 of Indochina under Communist control prosecuted a war against France, then south in 1975 during the Vietnam War against the United States. A success that was only possible because it was primarily a struggle for national liberation from foreign rule in both wars for many Vietnamese. "The prospect of seeing their own daughters grow up in a Communist, but Vietnamese country, the majority Buddhist Vietnamese were less horrified at that time less at a Communist takeover for them, than to imagine a future in brothels for GI's and rich Americans," [You mean the Socialists don't frequent brothels?] said a French Foreign Legionnaire, who fought at Dien Bien Phu. The Catholics chose between unfreedom and poor experience of freedom, for the latter variant, which could secure them the necessary freedom to develop and to deal with the scale of Christian freedom. The Americans were defeated in a fierce battle. Since 1976, Vietnam was reunited under the official designation Socialist Republic of Vietnam. For Christians, the country brought hards times. Already in 1954, all of the parishes of the North had fled to the South. Nevertheless, the Church has survived.

Elisabetta Galeffi has returned from a trip to the Southeast Asian country. She does not report on religio-political issues, including the persecution of Christians under the Red Flag. It is characterized by empathetic, attentive observations, the image of a vibrant, healthy Catholic community that experienced a large influx of vocations to the priesthood and the religious orders.

At Mass in Ho Chi Minh City

To cross the square, to reach Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), requires a cool head. The slalom between hundreds of motorcycles, the only escape for a breath of pedestrians in the maze, is a thrilling endeavor.

The large cathedral with two towers was built by the French in 1877-1880, with red bricks, which were specially imported from Toulouse. It is the largest Catholic church in the country. It forms the center of the Place de la Comune de Paris in the city traffic. The distinctive French main post office is on one side of the square. Opposite the gardens with the large statue of Mary, a true urban and literary monument in numerous articles of war correspondents from around the world and the novel The Quiet American by Graham Greene, which takes place in Saigon, is described. Here in the most elegant part of the economic center of Vietnam you can still imagine the old capital of Indochina. On Sunday the whole city convenes together here, sitting at the tables of the cafes or picnic on the expansive lawns of the gardens, the girls and boys have their pictures taken around the cathedral and the statue of Mary.

At 11 clock in the morning, a favorable time throughout the world, to attend the Sunday Mass that doors of Notre Dame remain closed like an impregnable fortress. Only in the early afternoon do they open and the cathedral is filled with believers within minutes. All benches are filled to the last seat. The people bring tiny folding stools and jostle in the aisles until not a meter in the church is free. The latecomers must celebrate the Mass in front of the entrance gates, many sit on their motor scooters, hundreds.

Once the celebration of Mass begins, the noise of the continuous space traversing motorcycles gives way to church music, which is transmitted via powerful speakers into the open so that they can be heard in the coffee houses and the side streets. There are often repetitive melodies in the standard national style, as you can encounter them in Buddhist temples, but are sung with Christian texts, as they are known in Western churches. It's a meeting of cultures, carried out by the graceful voices of the Vietnamese and their passion for the beautiful song.

In Hanoi, a concert of brass and drums happens at Ly Quoc Su, attracts at the center of the old town. At the end of the narrow streets appears unexpectedly, the majestic Cathedral of St. Joseph in neo-Gothic style, reminiscent of Notre Dame in Paris in miniature. A huge procession of devotees follow the white-clad brass band and children in long blue robes, carrying a canopy with a small statue of the Virgin Mary. The clergy in solemn liturgical vestments stops in front of the facade of the church to bless the faithful, incense rises in dense swaths. The Joseph Cathedral was built in 1886 by naked concrete. The concrete is old and dark, capable of displaying a place of deep spirituality.

A garden behind the church offers with tropical plants and fragrant flowers offers some cooling for the rectory, a school for poor children and a dormitory. A magical garden breaks the ranks of the small streets like an oasis in the bustling chaos of the densely populated residential area of Hanoi. The Mass is an ancient rite. For those in the Vietnamese capital 6 o'clock in the evening is an exciting return to the past. The women wear their best Ao dai for the occasion, the national dress with wide-legged silk trousers covered thinly over long tight knee-or ankle-length silk robes in bright colors. They look very elegant and move with the utmost grace. The liturgy is celebrated in Latin, which emphasizes the brotherhood, even here, in the midst of such a different culture, with an indecipherable signature. The familiar Latin invites you to join in the singing loudly, to share with these people a faith that seems so honest.

In Vietnam, 9-10 percent of the population are Catholics. [They were a majority before the War] The number of practicing Catholics is very high and the vocations are numerous. They form by the Buddhists, the second largest minority in a country that in its overwhelming majority is atheist, according to official figures.

Traveling the country from south to north, you will encounter along the main axis, numerous churches that were built during the French colonial rule from 1858 to 1954. In addition to the churches in the cities, especially the elegant religious architecture surprisingly amidst the emerald landscapes and before the deep blue backdrop of the great Vietnamese rivers, the South China Sea or the Gulf of Tonkin. Even the wood and straw hut churches in the north on the border with the People's Republic of China in the rice fields of the mountains around Sapa are inviting and decorated with pious devotion and all are filled with believers, no matter where you go, and with music and songs. For the Black Hmong, an ethnic minority of the Catholic faith, the churches are the center of life of their small farming communities.

Text: tempos
 Introduction / Translation: Giuseppe Nardi Image: Tempi
Trans from German: Tancred

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Please Don't Use Our Church as a Discotheque: Vietnamese Communists

Edit: the French Revolutionaries put a prostitute on the altar of Notre Dame. They haven't changed.

Vietnamese Catholics are protesting against the state dispossessing them of their church, 40 persons were violently arrested during the peaceful demonstration.

Hanoi ( priests of the Redemptorist order and over 30 Catholics of a parish community from Hanoi in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam were arrested on Friday morning. They took part in a peaceful demonstration against the the State dispossessing them of their church. This was reported by the International Society for Human Rights (IGFM).

The Catholics of the Hanoi Parish Thai Ha have been leveled criticisms that the government has attempted to engage in illegal construction activity on their property for years. They fear that the intention behind this is to create a basis to deny the community their property rights.

The present object of contention is the former church of the Redemptorist order which will be used as a hospital and discotheque. In 2008 the government has allowed the property to be transformed into a public park after a nine month disagreement.

All of the written protests of the parish community Thai Ha were unsuccessful, so they are now trying to make their cause noticeable by a public protest. On Friday morning about 100 Catholics submitted a complaint against the illegal building activity on the property of their church to the People's Committee.

During the conclusion of the demonstration on the return march from the People's Committee, they were actually attacked by several persons who wore red armbands and were accompanied by the police. The faithful were corralled on a bus and brought to "Detainment Center Loc Ha", which is actually a home for arrested prostitutes.

Up until the point of the violent resolution, the demonstration was peaceful. On some of the signs could be read: "Please don't make our church into a discotheque!" "Hands off the Property of Religious Communities!", "Stolen Church Buildings Should be Returned!", "Against the Distortion of Reality in Thai Ha of the [State owned] New Hanoi News!", "Article 70 of the Constitution Protects the Property of Religious Communities!". One of the signs showed scenes of Militia Officials who entered the church of Thai Ha and insulted and threatened the pastor.

Among those arrested is the Pastor Giuse Nguyen Van Phunog, the priest Guise Luong Van Long and Vinh Son Vu Van Tuan as well as about 35 seminarians and community members. The IGFM has called upon the Vietnamese government to let those arrested go unconditionally and bring those responsible to justice.

Story taken from the IGFM site, here, in German.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Madame Nhu, First Lady of Vietnam, RIP

Editor: She was the brave and sharp witted First Lady of Vietnam. She was a devoted Catholic who deserves our prayers. We'll try to write a better obituary here for her than what she'll get from the Marxist New York Times. So it almost goes without saying that she has been unjustly maligned by the media for more than fifty years. She is almost universally referred to by enlightened and culturally sensitive leftists as "Dragon Lady", although she was herself a woman of high birth, being of the Imperial Family of Vietnam, and great intelligence. Her life has been bitter and tragic as she has lived in exile for most of it, owing to her country being stolen by Bolshevik thieves and the incompetent bungling of the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. Her brother-in-law was the most Catholic, courageous and interesting President of the Republic of Vietnam, Ngô Đình Diệm. Like many other Catholic leaders, he was assassinated, leaving the Communists reportedly shocked that the Americans could be so stupid.

She has little love or sympathy for the United States, which is understandable considering the way she was treated by our local Marxists in the press corp. As an interesting aside, it was her comments about Buddhist monks incinerating themselves, and her witty remark that indicted the Monks of hypocrisy, which they used to portray her ever after as "The Dragon Lady". Indeed, the way her sharp remarks were portrayed in the American press, she sounded vain, stupid and quite frankly, redolent of certain stereotypes held by the protestant mind-set in the United States about Asians. Her treatment by these journalistic Quislings reminds us of another brilliant Catholic Lady who suffered a like treatment from similar journalistic types almost two centuries earlier in 1789.

H/t: Tom

A nice profile of her by Mad Monarchist.

"The Dragon Lady" as she came to be called, was also a passionate anti-communist and was determined that women should play a leading role in defending their country from Communist infiltration. She formed a corps of women warriors and there is a famous photograph of her at their training ground, firing a .38 pistol for the first time. That event sums up a great deal of her character. Having never used a firearm before she was startled by the noise of the first shot. Laughing it off, she vowed that she would not flinch again and fired the remaining five rounds as though she were an expert. She also fostered a renewal of commemorations for the Trung Sisters, the heroic co-Queens of early Viet Nam who fought against Chinese occupation.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Communists Ban Christmas Mass in Vietnam

Editor: too bad our Bishops don't make our Communists this angry and fearful.

Vietnam...[kreuz/AsiaNews] Bishop Michel Hoang Ðúc Oahn (72) from Kontum in the central highlands of Vietnam may not celebrate Christmas Mass.  This was reported by the Old Liberal news agency 'AsiaNews'.  The ban came from the district's Communist authority.  That mountain people from the Diocese wanted to participate at that Mass, alerted the comrades to the celebration. Initially, there was no opposition: the ban came first on Christmas day when 'AsiaNews" mentioned that  Msgr Hoang Ðúc Oanh is famous for many conversions.  In 2008 and 2009 alone, he was responsible for the baptism of 50.000 of his Dioceses' people.

Original German at, here...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fifty Thousand Catechisms for Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - 80 thousand children and young people this year will study the catechism in about 200 parishes of the archdiocese of former Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City.

In September, with the resumption of the school year, parishes also reopened their courses, with the fundamental contribution of 5 thousand catechists, youth volunteers, enthusiastic and full of experience, who teach the basics of Christianity and human education.

The parish of Quang Dong held an inaugural Mass on the opening day (photo) of catechism classes for 442 children. Also the parishes of Binh An Ha, Binh Thai, Nam Hai, Binh Minh and Binh Xuyen are preparing to begin the first day of instruction.

Read further...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vietnam and Vatican discuss Diplomatic Ties

(February 20, 2009) The Holy See and Vietnam have laid a “good basis” for establishing diplomatic relations during annual meetings this week, although no target has been set, a Vatican envoy said on Thursday. The meeting was held in a “very frank and open atmosphere,” Monsignor Pietro Parolin, the Vatican under-secretary for Relation with States told reporters after meeting with Nguyen The Doanh, head of Vietnam's religious affairs commission. Tensions have existed between the Vietnamese government and religious organizations for years. Communist authorities closely monitor religious groups and insist on approving most church appointments. But recently, relations between Hanoi and the Holy See have begun to thaw. Talks between the government and Vatican have been held since 1990, but the latest round marked the first meeting of a working group studying the renewal of diplomatic ties. “We have already set up good basis for further progress,” Msgr. Parolin said, adding that it was impossible to say how long the process would take. “The outcome will be diplomatic relations,” he added. He also told reporters he hoped the Pope might come to Vietnam this year, although no plans had been made for a visit. The working group held its first sessions on Monday and Tuesday, when Msgr. Parolin met Vice Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Cuong. Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung said this week's meeting was an “important step” in the development of relations between Vietnam and the Vatican. Msgr. Parolin's delegation is scheduled to visit two dioceses in northern Vietnam later this week before returning to Rome on Sunday. Vietnam has one of Asia's largest Catholic populations, with more than 6 million followers.

Link to original...

Link to related story about Vietnamese government oppressing Catholics, as usual.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Communist Government Denies Blowing Up Crucifix in Vietnam, Blocks News Sites

Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan 19, 2010 / 03:59 am (CNA).- Following reports that it destroyed a crucifix and brutalized parishioners, the Vietnamese government has blocked various Catholic news sites from its citizens and claimed that it dismantled the crucifix, rather than blowing it up.

On Jan. 6, an estimated 600-1,000 armed police officers entered the Dong Chiem parish cemetery to protect an engineering unit assigned to destroy the stone crucifix under the pretense that the fixture violated a state mandate that all religious symbols be inside a religious premise. Parishioners begged the police to stop the destruction of the crucifix but were met with tear gas and batons.

Read further...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vietnamese Police Attack Priest, Journalist

Catholic Culture

Vietnamese police, joined by pro-government thugs, attacked a priest and a Catholic journalist in the village of Dong Hoi, about 40 miles south of Hanoi, on January 11. The priest, Father Nguyen Van Lien, was escorting Nguyen Huu Vinh on a tour of the village when the police stopped them, pulling the priest aside an clubbing the journalist into unconsciousness. The beating ended when the police took the journalist’s camera, leaving him bleeding on the road; he was diagnosed with a concussion.

Police in the region have accused Catholic priests of stirring up anti-government sentiments, and several Catholic residents have reported been roughed up by police officers and pro-government forces.

Link to original...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vietnamese Communists Threaten Redemptorists

Remember when we were told by George Weigel and Francis Fukuyama that Communism was dead and that we were entering into a new golden age? Don't you believe it.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City issued a statement in which it slammed the city's Redemptorist community for going against "the Party's policies and the nation's laws". Catholics now fear more anti-priest violence. Signed by the Committee's chairman Pham Ngoc Huu, the statement was released on 28 December and published by all state media.

The statement accused the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which is located on the south side of the city, of organising mass prayer vigils "with the participation of many priests, religious and lay people from other regions of the country without the permission of local authorities in order to distort, falsely accuse and criticise the government."

The press release also said that the Redemptorists used the church bulletin board to "post articles and images leading believers to misunderstand the Party's policies and the nation's laws".

In the last two years, the Redemptorists' church has indeed held a number of prayer vigils in support of its sister church in Thai Ha (Hanoi), which has been fighting to regain its land, unfairly seized by the city.

Since then the Church and the faithful of Our Lady of Perpetual Help have been under close surveillance by uniformed and plain clothes police, who tape and take picture of those who take part in their activities.

Local authorities have also installed loudspeakers on buildings surrounding the church to disrupt the church's services, including the vigils.

The statement singled out the vigil of 27 July, which was held for two priests brutally beaten up in Dong Hoi (cf J.B. An Dang, "Priest beaten into a coma by police. Catholics Protest throughout Vietnam," in, 28 July 2009).

Similarly, People's Committee Chairman Huu singled out Fr Joseph Le Quang Uy, a well-known local pro-life activist, for giving "a hand to hostile forces, and reactionaries to conduct propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam "

Father Le Quang was equally accused of “taking advantage of his role in leading prayer vigils to distort the social, political and economic situation of Vietnam," which in turn gave him an opportunity to "denounce the government for human rights violations” and thus "undermine national unity.”

In the last few months, the clergyman also criticised the government for allowing bauxite mining in areas in central Vietnam inhabited by Montagnards. For this reason, he was attacked by state media, which called for his conviction on charges punishable by up to 20 years in prison (see J.B. An Dang, "Redemptorist priest could be accused of plotting to overthrow Vietnam’s Communist regime," in, 2 July 2009).

More broadly, Huu has accused the Redemptorists of failing to heed the Pope's instructions. During an ad limina visit by Vietnamese bishops, Benedict XVI had in fact said that "a good Catholic is a good citizen."

A Redemptorist spokesman, Fr Peter Nguyen Van Khai, responded by accusing the authorities of distorting the sense of the Pope's words, because the Holy Father had also called for "a healthy collaboration between the Church and the State through dialogue.” Unfortunately, the government seems unwilling to accept such collaboration.

For many Catholics, the authorities seem more likely to resort to violence and the campaign against the Redemptorists appears to be but the start of a new anti-priest campaign.

Link to original...

h/t: Pewsitter