Vietnam: Bishops shocked at government’s betrayal
|Thousands keep protesting at the nunciature|
|Thousands protestested through the night|
|Construction workers demolish buildings|
In a letter to the president and the PM of Vietnam, Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh of Kontum, warned them of nasty consequences. “Our people are gentle and kind, easy to forget the past and forgive those who trespass against them.” However, “when they find themselves being tricked, pushed to the corner, and persecuted… they can accept even death, especially ‘the death due to faith’”, the bishop warned.
In this country, “numerous of the weak and the poor have pleaded for years for the requisition of their properties but all in vain, as the authorities do not listen but persecute them!” he denounced.
He pleaded the government to “stop accuse [Catholics] with insults…stop using the media to silence them.” “It is the time that weapons cannot solve problems, especially when dealing with people with faith like Catholics,” bishop Michael Hoang stated.
From Thai Binh, Bishop Francis Nguyen Van Sang, who has been suffered footsore, said his heart was broken to hear the bad news and he “wished to be able to rush to Hanoi” to be with archbishop Joseph Ngo and his faithful in this time of ordeal.
Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan, in a letter to archbishop, priests and faithful of Hanoi wrote that he “got shocked and nervous” at the sudden developments at Hanoi nunciature. For bishop Joseph Dang, the building is “a souvenir of faith, a land stamped with the Seal of the Communion and Union of the Catholic Church” through-out the history. “A symbol of Love”, he added.
The New Hanoi newspaper does not share his view point. For the paper, the building is a symbol of Vatican, and its demolition is “a victory”. On Saturday, the paper could not hide its joy stating that Archbishop Joseph Ngo sent an urgent protest letter to the leaders of the country but all in vain. It accused that “in desperate hope of finding a possible way to stop the demolition…he sent letter to everywhere seeking for communion.” “That deed is against regulations of law and goes against will of people,” it added.
At the nunciature, construction workers worked throughout the night to demolish the building. Thousands of Catholics have also protested round the clock. Hundreds of priests from all parishes have stayed with protestors asking them to calm down every time the police, in great mass, tried to lure them into violence with swearing, profanity, and cursing languages.
At a point, protestors rescued some foreign reporters who were chased by police as they tried to take some photographs at the nunciature. Protestors helped the reporters to run toward the archbishop’s office where they could take refuge. On Friday morning, Ben Stocking, an American reporter, the Hanoi bureau chief for Associated Press was beaten by police. He was punched, choked and hit over his head.