Bishop of Vietnam in support of the Pope against "spirit of evil and lies"
My Tho (AsiaNews) - The bishop of My Tho, a diocese of South Vietnam, wrote a letter to his priests for the Year for Priests. It is also a passionate defence of Benedict XVI against the global campaign that is aims to prove him guilty of guilty silence and concealment of sexual abuse by some priests. Bishop Paul Bui Van Doc, 66, is president of the Episcopal Commission on Doctrine. This letter has also been published on the website of the diocese (www.giaophanmytho.net). We publish it below for our readers.
The first idea that came to mind during Holy Week this year is the word "hope", although the overall situation of the Catholic Church - according to the daily news of the press - seems to meet increasing difficulties.
Pope Benedict XVI is in great sadness because he has always been a consistent supporter of basic human values like Truth, Love and Life . He is also determined to renew the Church through the renewal of priests. It was along these lines that he opened the Year for Priests.
Precisely because the Church has decided to renew itself, its main enemy, the evil spirit, is determined to sabotage it. He applies the strategy of "using your own stick to strike you" to weaken and discourage the Church in support of traditional values. Satan uses the mistakes of the sexual abuse of Catholic priests, even mistakes that happened 60 years ago to reinforce the hostile forces in their attack against the church, destroying its prestige, especially that of the hierarchy and even the Holy Father.
If we analyze the global moral situation, we can conclude that in many respects the present world is slipping deeper and deeper, especially in sexual morality. Is the spread of AIDS throughout the world it not the result of a profound moral decay? And you can not hide the tragic consequences of the division of families because of divorce. Even abortions and indiscriminate killings are spreading, and increasing to an unacceptable extent. The blood of innocents cries out to heaven. Courts around the world face cases of family incest every day. Sexual abuse occurs in governments, businesses and even in schools around the world.
With regard to sexual abuse, one has to acknowledge that proportionately, violations in the Church are very few compared to those occurring in society. However, because of hostility against the church, television press, lawyers, etc. .., are fixed in wanting to attack the Church. What do they want? They seek to suppress the spiritual prestige of the Church, thus the Church will no longer dare to speak out on issues that they do not like. Of course, it is important to punish the criminals, witness compassion for the victims and ensure they are satisfied. But this is not reason enough to tarnish the entire community of believers and to blame the whole Church.
Clearly, shifting responsibility [of sexual abuse - ed] onto the Holy Father derives from the single intention to harm him. Let us remember that he is a person who for half his lifetime studied and meditated theology, after he was appointed archbishop of Munich, for too short a time to organize and stabilize his diocese, before being transferred to Rome, with the mission to "support the doctrine of faith." He was so zealous in his mission to be as to have been considered strict and, a "Panzerkardinal". Now the criticism against him says he was too tolerant and lax. How "deceitful" are "the mouths of men"! This lie can be understood as the spirit of evil. According to the Bible, Satan was misleading and deceptive from the beginning (see Genesis 3,4,5).
I think the time has come for us to speak to awaken the conscience of journalists, communicators, lawyers - who give so much importance to money, political speculators so that they respect justice when they criticize others, maintain a polite and civilized behaviour when they write or speak about religious and spiritual leaders, and especially the Holy Father. Let's look at the reactions of Muslims when they clashed with words considered blasphemous to their religion and their spiritual leaders.
I am surprised and wonder why many learned people in democratic and civilized societies have not drawn the necessary conclusions from the comparison between the noble attitude of Catholics, especially leaders, and the vulgar and atrocious attitude of those who relentlessly criticize religious and social leaders. The deeply irresponsible attitude of some intellectuals of our time is now truly unacceptable.
Pope Benedict XVI is indeed a noble and quiet person. His heart is full of love, his mind is open to others with a spirit of dialogue; he accepts free and true words. The Holy Father is "a person of truth," he serves the truth constantly, using precise words to tell the truth. Unfortunately, "forces of lies" are allying together to attack it. Since the beginning of Christian history, the evil forces have always been allied with each other to reject " God’s holy servant, Jesus, Anointed’ " (see Acts 4.27).
First I hope that all members of God's people worldwide unite in solidarity to recognize the "danger" of things that are defamatory and blasphemous deriving from anti-Church forces who are trying to undermine the prestige of the Holy Father and Hierarchy, rejecting the spirit and virtue influence of the Catholic Church.
Secondly priests must do their best to renew themselves and their lives during this "Year for Priests," not to give the world reasons to dishonour the Church and even the Lord Jesus
Although evil seems to prevail, the love of God for men is greater than evil, stronger than death. The spirit of evil is becoming smarter and increasingly hostile forces gather to attack the Church, but we need not fear. The risen Lord is constantly telling us: Do not be afraid! The Holy Spirit which is the love of the Risen Lord will renew us from within and among eachother. What is most important is "the heart". We must be vigilant of our enemies, that is, evil in our hearts. Do not let the "spirit of evil" reside in your heart. May the love of the Risen Christ purify and renew all things. The Risen Lord is our Hope.
Paul Bui Van Doc President of the Vietnamese bishops' Committee on Doctrine
Translation by N.B.D.