20 February 2018

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12/06/2008 VIETNAM

Ahead of trial against faithful of Thai Ha, Catholics welcome a new bishop

Today is the ordination of Chu Van Minh as auxiliary bishop of Hanoi. Twenty bishops, a thousand priests, religious, and seminarians, and twenty thousand faithful are taking part in the ceremony. Three days before the beginning of the trial, all over the country they are praying for justice and peace.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - All over Vietnam, they are praying "for justice and peace" today, the day of the episcopal ordination of Lawrence Chu Van Minh, the new auxiliary bishop of Hanoi, which is taking place just three days before the beginning of a trial with clear political connotations against eight faithful of the parish of Thai Ha.

On October 15, the pope appointed Ngo Quang Kiet, archbishop of Hanoi, as the primary celebrant of the ordination. Together with him, the twenty other bishops participating in the ceremony include the president of the Vietnamese bishops conference, Nguyen Van Nhon, the cardinal archbishop of Saigon, JB. Pham Minh Man (in the photo), and the archbishop of Hué, Stephen Nguyen Nhu The. The 20,000 people present include a thousand priests, religious, and seminarians, demonstrating the faith of the Vietnamese people.

The diocese of Hanoi is going through a number of difficulties in this time, because of material factors and spiritual obstacles. Catholics are most anxious over the discrimination and suspicion surrounding them, while the local and central authorities are offering a warm welcome to foreigners for their business collaboration. They have cut financing for economic projects and formational activities in order to keep the money for themselves. But they don't want the Catholics to make any contribution to these activities.

"Catholicism is the religion of love," Bishop Chu Van Minh tells AsiaNews. "Here, love means doing good things for the people. We are close to the joys and sorrows of the people, who do not need nice words right now, but the testimony of love." "We are at the service of the people, of the disadvantaged children, of our brothers and sisters, and the country understands that this service is done out of love for Jesus."

In this context, people all over the country are looking with concern to the trial that will begin on December 8. Charged with "destruction of property" and "disturbance of public order" are eight Catholics who participated in the prayer vigils organized by the parish of Thai Ha, to obtain the restitution of illegally confiscated church property. The parish has announced a prayer vigil on their behalf tomorrow. A statement about the vigil says that they are "witnesses of justice and truth, who have never violated the law and have been arrested and charged unjustly." The initiative of Thai Ha follows a letter from Archbishop Kiet, asking the faithful to pray "for these brothers and sisters who, with courage, are witnessing to justice and truth."

But it is not only in Hanoi that they are praying. Since the announcement of the trial, there have been hundreds of vigils organized all over the country.

The government media are giving no news about any of this. Since the announcement of the trial, the entire question seems to have been shrouded in silence.

See also

27/03/2009 VIETNAM
Sentence against faithful of Thai Ha upheld. Catholics protest injustice
The appeals court has reconfirmed the sentence against the 8 who were calling for the return of land belonging to the parish. This morning, 5,000 Catholics marched for 12 kilometers to the site of the trial, and were stopped by 1,000 police officers in riot gear with guard dogs. The state television channel accuses the Redemptorists, and recommends that they be arrested. In Saigon, 5,000 Catholics and non-Catholics - together with local political authorities - took part in a prayer vigil. The eight defendants are "like Jesus."

20/12/2008 VIETNAM
Defaming sisters of Vinh Long to turn their orphanage into a hotel
Letter from the bishop: "How sad it is to see religious attacked who for 31 years have served the poor and the sick." The building had been requisitioned to turn it into a pediatric hospital, never realized.

08/01/2009 VIETNAM
New directive from Hanoi on Church property: nothing will be given back
A norm, with obscure provisions, affirms that the use of ecclesiastical property granted by the state to "organizations" must respect the purpose of this property, and not offend the sentiments of the faithful. Who will be harshly punished if they protest.

01/12/2008 VIETNAM
Prayer vigil in Ho Chi Minh City for parishioners of Thai Ha
5,000 go to the Redemptorist monastery, where a screen displays the faces of the eight faithful who will be tried. University students perform a play about those who were martyred in the attempt to wipe out Catholicism.

25/11/2008 VIETNAM
Trial against eight Catholics from Thai Ha begins December 5
The accusation is that they destroyed property and disturbed public order, but even the police left off the first charge initially. It refers to the toppling of a three-meter section of a wall, which the authorities then destroyed completely to create a public park.

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