Hanoi (AsiaNews) - "A sacrilege" that "offends the Catholic faith"; the archdiocese of Hanoi has expressed its outrage at the January 6 destruction, carried out with the explosive, of the crucifix in the cemetery of the parish of Dong Chiem. The same day, "the priests and faithful flocked to Dong Chiem to bring solidarity and best wishes to the pastors and parishioners. They are close to the victims of the violence and concelebrated a Mass, praying for the wounded and for the parish as a whole".
"The hill - says a statement issued yesterday by Vice-Chancellor, Father John Le Trong Cung - has always been owned by the parish, since its establishment, more than one hundred years ago." Furthermore, "since the time of the Great Hunger, - the statement continues - that hit the north of Vietnam between October 1944 and May 1945 and in which two million people died of starvation, the site has been used as the parish cemetery. Still today, the parish allows some people to rent some of the hill for cultivation”.
It is known, however, that the authorities deny any right of ownership, with the statement that in a communist country "the land belongs to the people and the state manages it for the people."
Father John Le Trong Cung recalls that before the destruction of the cross, the faithful intervened to ask the police not to pursue the sacrilegious action, but the hundreds of police in riot gear present reacted with brutality. "At least a dozen people have been badly beaten, two of them were seriously injured and taken to a clinic in Te Tieu, where, however, they did not receive treatment. Later, the priests and the faithful found them and they took them to Viet Duc hospital, where doctors intervened”.
"Now we are experiencing great pain and we are deeply anguished, because what happened to the crucifix is a sacrilege against Christ our Lord. It is a real sacrilege, an insult against the most sacred symbol of our faith. Brutally attacking unarmed and innocent civilians is a savage and inhuman act, which seriously injures human dignity. This senseless conduct must be condemned. "
Finally Father Le Trong Cung calls to priests, religious and faithful to pray "that our country will become just, democratic and civil where sacred values are respected and human rights protected".