Hanoi (AsiaNews/EDA) - A few weeks ago, Hanoi Catholics set up the 'François-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan Club', an association whose aim is to promote the works and the message of hope of the Vietnamese cardinal, who is expected to be beatified soon.
After 13 years in a Vietnamese Communist prison, he died on September 16 2002 in Rome where Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 2001. He was a unique witness of faith in God.
Hope underlined all of his writings and actions, which is precisely why the group that bears his name plans to operate in the area of mission.
As the secretary general of the Joseph Nguyen Tien Dat Association explained last Sunday at the inauguration at the Redemptorist convent in Hanoi, the club was founded to spread the words and thoughts of the "heroic cardinal."
He also called for prayers for the ongoing cause of beatification, and in-depth sessions on the social doctrine of the Church and on current events.
Many Redemptorist Fathers from the capital, Catholic intellectuals and students, as well as colleagues from other religions interested in the figure of the cardinal attended the club's official opening.
'Challenges today's youth must meet to become human' was the topic of this first meeting, focusing on the challenges represented by today's scientific and technical revolutions in a world characterised by increasing materialism, quest for money and personal affirmation.
Somehow, the club's foundation marks the cardinal's public return in Hanoi. In 1989, he left for Rome, after being labelled "persona non grata" by Communist authorities.
Even today, what remains of the cardinal's spiritual legacy is at odds with the party. At present, the government has not indicated what it thinks about a club dedicated to Cardinal Van Thuan, to his memory and beatification.
In 2012, Communist authorities expressed their opposition to the latter by withdrawing an entry visa given to two Vatican prelates who planned a visit to the country to gather material for the beatification.
A year later, they prevented a former official from going abroad to testify for the cause. The latter was stopped at the airport, just before boarding a plane for Rome, and arrested.