08/10/2010, 00.00
VIETNAM-VATICAN

Mgr.Ngo Quang Kiet, former archbishop, has returned to Hanoi and now lives in a monastery

by J. B. Vu
After his resignation he had travelled to the United States for health reasons. The government had long wanted him removed; he claims he lobbied the Vatican for his resignation. A “familial” meeting between Mgr. Ngo and Mgr. Nguyen Van Nhon, his successor.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, the former archbishop of Hanoi, long contested by the regime, has returned to his diocese and now lives in the monastery of Chau Son. Yesterday he received a visit from the new Archbishop, Mgr. Peter Nguyen Van Nhon and his assistant, Mgr. Laurent Chu Van Minh.

For years Archbishop Ngo, a staunch defender of the rights of the Church of Hanoi, was subjected to a violent government campaign. On 13 May he resigned from his post as archbishop of the northern diocese, giving way to Mgr. Nguyen Van Nhon, who at 72 years of age had only recently been appointed coadjutor bishop of Hanoi.

The government exploited the news by suggesting that the Vatican was following a "roadmap" set by the regime that has long wanted to get rid of Mgr. Ngo.

The move provoked tensions among the faithful of the diocese and the entire Vietnamese Church, which have not yet been completely resolved, and which Mgr. Ngo tried to calm in a letter to the faithful of his diocese, that stated he had personally asked to be replaced at the helm of the diocese for health reasons.

The same May 13, Mgr. Ngo left for the United States "in silence and in secret for health reasons ". On 6 August he returned to Hanoi and is now living in the monastery of Chau Son. The news was made public by his brother, who lives in Houston, Texas. Yesterday, then, Mgr. Ngo received the visit of Mgr. Nguyen Van Nhon, the auxiliary bishop and some priests of the archdiocese.

According to the website of the Vietnamese bishops' conference, "the meeting took place in an emotional, familial and joyful atmosphere."

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