Sunday, September 21, 2008
Vietnamese Catholics Continue to Suffer
I wanted to post an update on the situation in Vietnam. You can see the large group of priests and lay faithful gathered outside of the Church property in the pictures. There were over 5,000 people gathered there last night to pray. You can read more on the initial situation here. Let's continue to keep these good people and this situation in our prayers. You can read the letter from the Archbishop's office below:
Archbishop's Office of Hanoi
Hanoi, September 19, 2008
Letter of urgent appeal
Priests, religious, faithful,
peace lovers and fellow justice supporters.
Since Sep. 19, 2008 morning, at the piece of land of the nunciature at 42 Nha Chung St., which belongs to Archbishop's Office of Hanoi, a great mass of police and security forces, militiamen, and police dogs has besieged Hanoi archbishop's residence and blocked Nha Chung street. Another team in huge numbers has demolished the fence, some other construction; and digged out the lawn in the front door of our nunciature.
Archbishop's Office of Hanoi has repeatedly requested the building and its land to be returned to the Church but so far our aspiration has not been met. All in a sudden, on Sep. 18 evening and Sep. 19 morning, state television reported the demolition plan with distortional information to prepare public opinion for this illegal deed.
This development is going against the policy of dialogue that the government and the Archbishop's office are conducting. This act is a deed that smears the legitimate aspiration of the Hanoi Catholic community, ridicules the law, and disrespects the Catholic Church in Vietnam. It is also an act of trembling morality, and mocking society’s conscience.
The discuss on the ownership of the nunciature is still on the way but the authorities of Hanoi City and Hoan Kiem district have employed their armed forces to back the destruction of our property.
The archbishop's residence and the convent of Hanoi Adorers of the Holy Cross congregation have been besieged. All normal activities have been delayed.
Hence, Archbishop's Office of Hanoi strongly protests and requests
1) The government to stop besieging Hanoi archbishop's residence, and end the demolition our property.
2) The government to restore the property to its original status, and return it to us so that it can be used for religious and community welfare purposes.
3) Relevant agencies and Hanoi City must accept responsibilities for all potential consequences born of this property appropriation. We have our rights to use all of our capabilities to protect our property.
4) The President, the Prime Minister of Social Republic of Vietnam, the authorities of Hanoi City, and relevant agencies to immediate interfere to put an end for this act.
Facing this crisis, the archbishop’s office of Hanoi informs everyone asking for your communion and solidarity in this difficult time.
Throughout the diocese, in churches, chapels and anywhere Catholics live, please hold vigil prayers simultaneously, or come to pray at the archbishop’s office.
In this period of ordeal, please monitor all developments at the archbishop’s office, and be in high vigilance against one-way and distortional information from state newspapers and television.
This letter and the urgent protest letter of archbishop’s office are to be read at all churches and handed out to everyone.
Be united in Christ.
Vice Chancellor of Hanoi Archbishop’s office
Rev. John Le Trong Cung
With all this going on there was also, at the Redeptorists parish in Thai Ha, someone desecrated the shrine to the Blessed Mother. Sadly the police watching the place did nothing to stop them despite the appeal of the parishioners. Some pictures are available here.