Vatican City (AsiaNews)
- "The Church in Vietnam needs witnesses of life and faith." Benedict XVI has been
a "model and guide" in a nation ruled by a "Communist government that still restricts
religious freedom," said Fr Joseph, a Vietnamese priest waiting in St Peter's
Square to see his "beloved pope" who steps down from the Pontifical Seat
tomorrow. Fr Reinaldo, a Filipino missionary, is also in the crowd. For him,
the mission is every Catholic's responsibility, especially in Asia's only predominantly
Christian nation, now close to Card Antonio Tagle, the archbishop of Manila and
a possible successor to Benedict XVI.
"The Church in Vietnam
needs a very strong faith," said Fr Joseph, from Hue (central Vietnam), because
"we are still under a Communist government that restricts religious freedom." For
him, Benedict XVI "represents faith in God" and "helps us become a model and
witness to the world".
"In our society, faith
is not deeply rooted and developed," the priest noted. "For this reason, it is
important to promote it and proclaim it."
The pope, he explained,
has gone a long way towards re-establishing diplomatic relations between the
Holy See and Vietnam, but a lot remains to be done. "We look forward to the
future, full of hope, and put ourselves in God's hands."
In concluding, "The
Church in Vietnam needs to bear witness to life and faith," he said. "We need
to be more Catholic."
Fr Reinaldo Bullas Jr, a
Monfort missionary from the Philippines, is another witness. He is "sad but
also happy for the pope and his decision. His pain and health problems prevented
him from going on. For this reason, he took the great step." Benedict XVI's "constant
call for unity" invites us "to deepen our love for the Church."
In the Philippines, we
must offer "a deeper faith," he added, "taking part in the work of
evangelisation at home and abroad. The mission is a duty for every Christian."