06/11/2007, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Communion as a factor in human promotion and development, says Cardinal Pham Minh Man

by JB. VU
The archbishop of Saigon tells AsiaNews how the community represents the fundamental nucleus for every expression of the Church. In a Socialist society, “we live and work to show our faith in God, the Church and the people.”

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – The Archbishop of Saigon, Card jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, told AsiaNews that building communion among Vietnam’s Catholics as factor in “human promotion and development as well” is his main goal.

“Christians are called to communion. The community is the first and most fundamental nucleus of the Church in each parish and the members of each group are aware that they have a duty to follow which is to spread the good news. Today this is an original way for human promotion and development.”

Appointed by John Paul II as archbishop of Saigon in 1995, Cardinal Pham Minh Man heads a community of about a million people out of total population of some six million.

“Sometimes it is difficult to do my job in this city,” he said. “But since Jesus loves us, he comes and gives us unity and love. From the love of Jesus I learnt that we must behave with justice towards one another. I am concerned about Catholics’ charity and work with the poor and people living with AIDS.”

“I have been interviewed several times and have talked about the complex issues that revolve around religion in Vietnam,” he added, “but there are still things in life that must be solved or implemented. Government officials too have said that they want to correct errors on a step-by-step basis. And every day people wait for the right to work and live with some dignity.”

For the cardinal it is important to insist that the life of the Church “must be based on flexible local groups. We have experience in helping people integrate into society and find ways to lead their lives.”

In a Socialist society, “we live and work to show our faith in God, the Church and the people. In fulfilling the Christian spirit, we want to be involved in social work, engaged in social and pastoral activities, helping the poor and the victims of social problems.”

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