09/25/2009, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Delegation from Hue diocese visits Father Ly in prison

Two priests visit Father Ly in jail, sent by his archbishop who is concerned about his health. The prisoner passes over hospitalisation in favour of other inmates who need it more. The Eucharist and news from the diocese make him feel in communion with the Vietnamese Church.
Hue (AsiaNews/EdA) – Despite the alarming state of his health, Fr Nguyên Van Ly, a Vietnamese clergyman who was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2006 (pictured during trial), is going to “manage” with a weekly check-up by the prison physician, two priests reported after they were able to visit him in prison. Father Ly continues to feel in communion with his diocese, they said. The information about father Ly is from Églises d’Asie, which cited the Hue Archdiocese website.

Hue Archbishop Étienne Nguyên Nhu Thê sent Frs Le Quang Quy and Le Quang Vien to see the jailed priest after he received disturbing reports about his deteriorating health from Father Ly’s sister, who visited him at the Ba Sao prison camp in northern Vietnam ,.

The tw0-member delegation from the diocese visited the inmate on 17 September. Before the meeting, the two priests gave prison authorities and representative of the Public Security Ministry a list of the diocese’s demands. They included allowing the priest to be checked and treated in a hospital, create the necessary conditions for him to perform his main priestly duties in prison, and finally to speed up his release. Prison authorities responded favourably to the first two requests, but said nothing about the third.

Father Ly appeared moved and grateful for the visit and concern his diocese’s bishops and priests showed him. He assured them of his communion with them in the Eucharist. However, he declined the archbishop’s suggestion that he be hospitalised, saying that other inmates were sicker and needed medical care more than he did.

As to his health, Father Ly told his visitors that he could manage with a weekly visit by the camp physician and the drugs his family and the prison administration provided him. . . .

Lastly, he told his fellow priests about the most serious health incidents that affected to him five months earlier. On 13 March, he suffered haemorrhage and in the same month experienced temporary paralysis, after reading an article in the Communist Party’s newspaper full of hateful accusations against him.

During the visit, the jailed priest spoke in detail about his daily life, saying that he was doing fine, and that he continued to follow events in the diocese and the Vietnamese Church, including the latest in Loan Ly. Even such information, he stressed, allowed him to remain in communion with the Church of Vietnam.

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