Hanoi (AsiaNews) - The archbishop of Hanoi, Mgr. Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet has left the capital of Vietnam and since 5 March has been in Rome for medical treatment. The prelate, who from the beginning of January was cared for in the monastery of Chau Son, is accompanied by Don Alfonse Pham Hung and is in Italy at the invitation of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. In Rome he was greeted by a group of Vietnamese religious and faithful.
Archbishop Kiet suffers from chronic insomnia and stress, a condition attributable to the sustained pressure as the head of his archdiocese and for whom the Vietnamese have exhausted the medical care available to them.
Before his departure, Mgr. Kiet received messages of closeness, affection and solidarity from bishops, priests, religious and faithful from all over north Vietnam.
The news of his departure for Rome has created controversy and speculation about his possible removal from the pastoral leadership of the archdiocese of Hanoi, on the basis of a Vatican agreement with the Vietnamese government that has repeatedly called for his removal. Mgr. Kiet has, however, calmly denied this assumption. "God willing - he said – he will gift me the blessing of good health and I will be able to serve Him. The duration of the treatment will be decided by the doctors".
Speaking to a delegation from Vinh who had come to bid him farewell and who had expressed concern about the uncertainties of the future, the archbishop recalled that "we are priests, we need not fear God. If this is what God wants, we serve in faith, not in fear. " He then asked believers to "speak the truth" and "live in communion within the Church to bring it to strong and confident life. Whatever you do, strengthen your faith in God, trusting in His blessing and His power, to obtain final peace. Your prayers and solidarity are the weapons of the Church. "