» 02/16/2015, 00.00
VATICAN - VIETNAM
Cardinal of Hanoi: Suffering has strengthened Church in Vietnam
Msgr. Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon says his appointment to the College of Cardinals is a sign of "Pope Francis’ desire to introduce the distant Churches ". Through the difficulties Catholics have built a "stronger, more solid” faith. The cardinal invites to "proclaim" the Gospel with "growing force". He asks Catholics around the world to "pray for us."
(AsiaNews) - The Archbishop of Hanoi's elevation to the College of Cardinals "manifests
Pope Francis' desire to introduce the churches that are distant, but that are
also equally part of the Church of Christ". But above all, it is also the
sign of the Pope's "attention" to the realities "that have
suffered much in the past, and it is thanks to this suffering that our faith
has become stronger, more solid every day", says Card. Pierre Nguyen Van
Nhon, Archbishop of Hanoi, speaking to AsiaNews about his appointment as
cardinal - 20 new cardinals, including three from Asia - in the February 14 consistory. A day of
celebration for Catholics in Vietnam, some of whom queued to pay tribute the
new cardinal during the traditional greeting in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.
Nguyen Van Nhon was born April 1, 1938 in Da Lat. At 11 he entered the minor
seminary of Saint Joseph in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), and then attended
the Pontifical College of St. Pius X in Da Lat for philosophical and
theological studies. Ordained a priest on 21 December 1967, he taught at the
minor seminary of Da Lat, then became rector of the seminary. On 19 October
1991, John Paul II appointed him coadjutor bishop of the diocese and his episcopal
ordination was on 3 December. From 2007 to 2013, he served as president of the
Vietnamese bishops' conference. Promoted coadjutor Archbishop of Hanoi April
22, 2010, on May 13 he succeeded Msgr. Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet following his
resignation from pastoral governance.
In recent years
he has tried to mediate with the Communist authorities in Hanoi, often the
protagonists of violence,
and even persecution
of the local Catholic community. The cardinal at first was accused of being
to acquiescent and conciliatory towards the authorities. In reality, he has always defended the
principle of religious freedom and intervened forcefully in disputes that
involved the possession
of the land and property of the Church, or the attacks on
the diocese of Vinh.
is poor, it can be said that the country still lacks everything," says the
new cardinal, who adds, however, that "one thing is certain, there is no
lack of faith Vietnam, and when you have the faith you have all you need".
"We are very happy to be part of the Church of Christ - continues the Archbishop
of Hanoi - and we intend increasingly proclaim the Gospel, walk the path of the
new evangelization and proclaim the Good News to others."
On the subject of freedom of religion and abuses against the Catholic
community, the Cardinal said that "you need to be in Vietnam, to be on the
ground, to really understand what it means". He adds that "if you are
looking from outside, you cannot understand the situation" .He is asking Catholics
around the world, however, to "pray for us" so "we can share our
faith with a growing number of people."
There are an estimated 90 million people living in Vietnam and the large
majority are Buddhists (48%). Catholics are about 7% of the population, with
20% of the population declaring
themselves to be atheists or people who do not profess a particular faith. The
Archdiocese of Hanoi has a population of over 5.6 million people, with about
350 thousand Catholics.
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Cardinal Zen: there is no religious freedom in China
Absolute control over the official community; sufferings of the underground community, manipulation and corruption of the bishops, who risk expressing only a formal allegiance to the Pope. The problems of the Church in China also come from the hesitation of the Catholic side. Growing risk of enslavement of pastors and that the directions of Benedict XVI in his letter to the faithful of the Church in China, will be forgotten. Card. Zen’s report before his fellow cardinals and the pope during the Consistory.
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Card. Zen: “Beijing should learn from Vietnam and be open to religious freedom”
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Saigon: Archdiocese and faithful thank Card. Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man
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Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution
Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.
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