Vietnam : Northern bishops support for Vinh diocese, targeted by authorities
Hanoi ( AsiaNews)
- The bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Hanoi have joined the
supporters of the Bishop of Vinh and the faithful of the parish of My Yen,
victims in the last weeks of a violent attack - physical and verbal - by media
and government authorities. In
a letter to Msgr. Paul
Nguyen Thai Hop on September 21, the eight prelates of the province in northern
Vietnam have expressed "full support" to the bishop , the priests and
the faithful. The
attacks against the faithful come as diplomatic efforts redouble with a series
of talks taking place between the Vatican and Vietnamese representatives in
Rome. However according to Curia sources
problems persist on the path to official diplomatic relations between the two
In their letter, the bishops of northern Vietnam condemn the 4 September attack against worshipers, which was followed by a violent smear campaign on the diocese of Vinh , calling them "a blatant violation" of religious freedom. The prelates also call for the release of the two parishioners from My yen, authorities failure to release them (as pre-announced) led to the clashes.
The archbishop emeritus Archbishop of Hanoi Msgr. Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet and the current Archbishop, Msgr. Peter Nguyen Van Nhon in a joint statement expressed their " full support " for the diocese of Vinh, the bishop and the parish.
Meanwhile, the government media continue to give wide coverage to the meeting of the Committee of Vietnamese Catholics , a sort of pro-government movement founded in 1955 by the Communist Party to create a " Patriotic Church " . An organization similar to the Chinese Patriotic Church , opposed by both Catholics at home and the Vatican as unlawful. The two days of meetings held in Ho Chi Minh City worries the Vietnamese faithful given the " scope " of the event , which was attended by 500 priests, religious and laity " faithful " to the Hanoi regime .
Of course this meeting will not help dialogue between Hanoi and the Holy See , already marked by the violent repression in the parish of My Yen , Vinh diocese , the northern province of Nghe An. In talks in Rome between the Vatican and the Vietnamese delegation " tensions" have emerged over the diocese of Vinh even if , at media level, they emphasize the desire to continue building "good relations and cooperation."
Vietnam and the Holy See have not had official diplomatic relations since 1975, but have been working since 2007 for the resumption of bilateral relations. To achieve the goal the Joint Working Group was set up along with, since 2011, the appointment of a non-permanent representative of the Holy See , Msgr. Leopoldo Girelli . Vietnam - a nominally atheist country - controls the practice of worship , including the activities of six million Catholics scattered throughout the territory, in a systematic way. It is the most substantial community of South- East Asia after the Philippines .