11/27/2010, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Vietnamese Catholics: we are citizens of our country

by J.B. Vu
The urgency to build the Church's communion through dialogue with God and cooperation with the government. And the need for a "balanced view" of the entire Church in Vietnam. These are the key points of the first day of the General Assembly of the People of God, opened on Nov. 21.

 Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – The work of the General Assembly of the People of God, which opened on Nov. 21, continues. "We should have a balanced view of our Church and not see it as a social organization, nor seek to understand it through research in sociology, nor claim that is purely mystical", said Mgr. Nguyen Nang, bishop of the Diocese of Phat Diem and President of the Vietnamese bishops' conference, who spoke during the first day of meetings.

The bishop added: "The local church has existed on its own with the purpose and modus operandi that is guided by the Holy Spirit. However, our Church has made mistakes, and we must acknowledge these sins and make amends. The Church's mission is to build the faith of parishioners, helping Vietnamese Catholics to read the Bible, attend Mass, live in a humble way, maintaining a virtuous life and our faith. "

Bishop Cosmas Hoang Van Dat, bishop of Bac Ninh and secretary general of the Vietnamese bishops' conference, spoke on 24 November at the Assembly: "The Church lives and keep our faith among our people. Vietnamese Catholics are Vietnamese citizens. Our people have contributed to the development of the nation, in culture, education, society and the defence of the country. In particular, good pastors have consolidated and strengthened the Church in Vietnam in the context of contemporary society. We need to have dialogue and cooperation with the government. Above all, we trust in the Vatican, and we are in communion with the Pope. "

The Church in Vietnam has often faced many difficulties. The history of the creation its own national hierarchy has gone through three great moments over 50 years: from 1954 to 1975, when Vietnam was divided into north and south from 1975 to 1986, the time of unification and construction of Socialism across the country, from 1986 to today, when the State has opened the door to a market economy based on the orientation of socialism.

In these 50 years, Catholic families have been practicing a religious life, such as reading the Word of God and celebrating the Eucharist. Through a public religious life, faithful and parishioners have established filial piety to God, communion with their brothers and sisters, and love among people.

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