Sunday, 21 September 2008

Situation in Vietnam

Recently we have learned from our brother seminarians from Vietnam training at Oscott of the ongoing events in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, where Catholics are holding prayerful vigils outside the old nunciature, which the Communist authorities have seized and are beginning to demolish. The Catholic community has long requested the return of the building to the Church in Hanoi, but the authorities have gone back on their promise to return it, and are doing so without any justification. In a letter to both the Vietnamese President and its Prime Minister, Archbishop Kiet of Hanoi has said, 'This act is a deed that smears the legitimate aspiration of the Hanoi Catholic community, ridicules the law, and disrespects the Catholic Church in Vietnam. It is also an act of trembling morality, and mocking society’s conscience.' The authorities, says the Archbishop, have even spread false information about the protest and used interviews with mock 'priests' supporting the demolition to dissuade Catholics from challenging the demolition. As many as 5,000 people have been praying outside the fenced-off sight, under close supervision, including the seminarians and religious of Hanoi. The seminary and nearby convent, as well as cathedral and the archbishop's residence, have been blocked off while the demolition is taking place. (At the same time a Redemptorist parish in the city is protesting against the seizure of its property, and some of the protesters are being detained by the police.) Please keep the whole situation in Hanoi, and in Vietnam in general, in your prayers.

Incidentally, according to one source the Church property is to be demolished to make way for a parking lot, which ironically reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song 'Big Yellow Taxi':

'Don't it always seem to go, that we don't know what we got til it's gone,
They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot!'

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