Hanoi (AsiaNews) – After “great days of turmoil” and as life “slowly gets back to normal” Hanoi Catholics have “some good tidings”. Pope Benedict XVI on 15 October appointed Fr Lorenso Chu Van Minh, currently the rector of the Major Seminary, to the post of auxiliary bishop of the capital. In his letter announcing the good news Hanoi Archbishop Mgr Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet (pictured) also said that the Holy Father appointed Pierre Nguyen Van Kham, executive secretary of the Bishops’ Council, to the post of auxiliary bishop of Ho Chi Minh City.
Dated 18 October the letter urges Catholics to seek dialogue as did a letter by Vietnam’s Bishops’ Council, on 8 October. In it the prelate calls for “dialogue in an atmosphere of careful consideration and frank and direct exchange” as well as “prayer in a spirit of communion, love and harmony.”
“Careful consideration posits a humble attitude, ready to remove obstacles that create misunderstandings and suspicions,” wrote Archbishop Kiet. “Frankness needs an honest soul who always tells the truth.”
This “is the way of dialogue, still long, full of difficulties and obstacles, in need of wisdom and perseverance,” he said quoting from the bishops’ own letter. And as for the appointment of the auxiliary bishop, “it reveals God’s love. [. . .] Pray, brothers and sisters for your new bishop, the archdiocese, the Church and your homeland,” he said.
Although the archbishop just mentioned “days of great turmoil” and “eventful days,” Catholics still reacted to a new attack against him by the chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee (City Hall), Nguyen The Thao, who has called for the prelate’s ouster.
For Franciscan Fr Pascal Nguyen Ngoc Tinh, “the real reason for Thao’s attacks” lies in what the archbishop said after meeting the People’s Committee on 20 September, namely that religious freedom “is right, not a privilege,” Vietcatholic News reported.
“When I stand up demanding my rights, it means that they are being violated, that I have lost them,” the priest said.
For him further attacks against the archbishop are to be expected for Thao is a “rising star in Vietnamese politics.”
After the Politburo backed his attitude towards Catholics, “rumours are flying that he might replace Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,” the clergyman said.