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    » 01/12/2013, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Carmelite monastery and Church property targeted, archbishop of Hanoi says



    In a letter to government and municipal authorities, the prelate reiterates legitimate Catholic rights. He condemns the demolition of an historic sacred place whose religious function should be preserved. He appeals to the faithful to pray and defend the Church's "rightful rights".

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) - "The land and the Carmelite monastery at 72 Nguyễn Thái Học Street belong to the Archdiocese of Hanoi." The Church "never offered the government any of the 95 buildings that the latter is using across the city," wrote Mgr Peter Nguyen Van Nhon, archbishop of Hanoi, in a letter to Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng and the municipal authorities posted on the archdiocese's website.

    On 3 January, the authorities began tearing down the Carmelite monastery to build a new, five-storey hospital. However, Catholic sources believe there is more than meets the eye, and plans other the hospital might be involved. The monastery with its church has been located at 72 Nguyễn Thái Học Street for more than a century.

    After the recent conviction of young activists, the archbishop of Hanoi, Mgr Peter Nguyen Van Nhon, sent an urgent letter to Vietnam's prime minister, his fifth appeal, in order to stop this latest attack against the Catholic community. He also wrote to municipal authorities for the same reason. However, so far his rightful requests have fallen on deaf ears.

    In the letter, the prelate reminded the authorities that "the Church's essential mission is to serve the people." In all of its history, the Archdiocese of Hanoi has given "its warm support to the efforts" made to "meet the health needs of the city's residents". Speaking about the city's health care facilities, he said, "Four of Hanoi's ten hospitals use buildings that belong to the Church".

    For Mgr Nguyen Van Nhon, that is not all. Using strong words, he "objects" to the "illegal demolition" of the Carmelite monastery for three specific reasons. First, the state has enough land or means to build a hospital or turn existing buildings into one. Secondly, for Catholics, the Carmelite monastery "is a historic and sacred place." Finally, the monastery and its adjacent church must be accessible to the members of Saint Dominic Parish "for the purpose of worship".

    In ending his letter, the prelate called on the faithful "to come together in prayer" to defend the "rightful rights of the Church".

     

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    See also

    11/01/2013 VIETNAM
    Hanoi Carmelite monastery under government bulldozers. Appeal of the Catholics
    The city administration had long threatened threatened the demolition of the historic building, to seize the land and "build a hospital." Church leaders claim legitimate ownership of the area and are appealing to the Prime Minister. Catholic sources accuse "secret projects", "very different" from the official statements.

    09/09/2008 VIETNAM
    False priests appear on Hanoi media to discredit Catholics
    In the dispute over Thai Ha parish property, state TV and government newspapers introduce party officials as priests. For the diocese these men "were ‘ordained’ by the government."

    08/03/2010 VIETNAM
    Archbishop of Hanoi in Rome for medical treatment
    Archbishop Kiet in Italy since March 5. Before leaving, he reassured those who fear an Vatican agreement with the Vietnamese Government which has repeatedly called for his removal from the capital.

    26/04/2010 VIETNAM
    Concern in some Catholic circles, over appointment of Hanoi coadjutor
    Despite repeated statements by Archbishop Kiet, the choice of Mgr. Van Nhon is seen as the result of an agreement between the government and the Vatican, aimed at replacing Mgr. Kiet in exchange for diplomatic relations and a visit by Pope

    24/11/2009 VIETNAM
    Thousands of candles illuminate the opening of the Jubilee of the Vietnamese Church
    The ceremony on the day the Church commemorates the 117 Vietnamese martyrs canonized by Pope John Paul II. Great festival is overshadowed by rumours of resignation submitted by the archbishop of Hanoi, the subject of a government slander campaign, to the Pope.



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