Saturday, December 20, 2008

Golgotha in Vietnam

A pitched battle is on in Vietnam between the Catholic church and the government. Several Catholics were recently tried and given sentences of house arrest and probation for the government's appropriation of church property. The government has demanded the expulsion of the Redemptorists from Hanoi. And a monastery is about to be torn down and the land converted into a public park.

Vietnamese authorities appear to have adopted a policy of turning Church property into green spaces, AsiaNews says. "Or perhaps it is a vendetta against local Catholics whose protests prevented them from selling the land to private interests."
Sandro Magistra recently reported on the Vietnamese bishops' reports of their church's struggle during the recent Synod.

At the synod taking place at the Vatican, there are two bishops from Vietnam: the bishop of Nha Trang, Joseph Vo Duc Minh, and of Thanh Hóa, Joseph Nguyên Chi Linh.

The latter of these, speaking on the morning of October 13, called the Church of Vietnam "one of the Churches most harshly tested by bloody and uninterrupted persecution."

But immediately after this, he encouraged those present with this passage from the conciliar constitution "Gaudium et Spes":

"The Church admits that she has greatly profited and still profits from the antagonism of those who oppose or who persecute her."

Proof of this "profit" – he said – is found in the flourishing of conversions in Vietnam, and the growing respect shown to Catholics for their extensive work in defense of motherhood, in a country with an extremely high abortion rate.
Yesterday, Hanoi priest Joseph Nguyen warned that the persecution will be ongoing.

“The Church needs to prepare for more persecutions,” Hanoi priest Fr. Joseph Nguyen warned, suggesting that a careful reading of Chairman Thao’s letter shows that he did not actually expect the Redemptorists to be transferred. “He expected and truly wanted the Church leaders to say no,” Fr. Joseph Nguyen claimed.

“The tone of the letter was so hostile, and so demanding. It also upset readers with the word ‘god’ in small case. It was not in tune with the claimed intention.

“What Thao really wants now is a good excuse for administratively coercive measures. Please pray for the Church in Vietnam. As Christmas draws near, we are still at the Golgotha on the Good Friday,” he concluded. (Catholic News Agency)

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