Vietnamese Catholics Protest Officials’ Interference in Their Parish

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Vietnam's Thien An monastery is shown in an undated photo.
Vietnam's Thien An monastery is shown in an undated photo.
File photo

Leaders of a Catholic monastery in north-central Vietnam’s Thua Thien Hue province are protesting authorities’ interference in the life of their community, accusing local officials of seeking to have their senior priest removed from his office, sources say.

In a Dec. 31 letter sent to top-level authorities in the province, priests at Thien An asserted their legal right to construct buildings on nearby village land owned and managed by the church since the 1940s.

They also accused members of the Thua Thien Hue People’s Committee of abusing their power by proposing the transfer to another province of monastery head Father Nguyen Van Duc, who had protested the seizure last year of monastery land.

By declaring in a Dec. 23 report to higher-ups that Duc had broken the law, the province’s People’s Committee had offended the dignity of the priest and had illegally interfered in the monastery’s internal affairs, the priests’ letter said.

Founded by French missionaries in June 1940, Thien An monastery is home to a community of priests, nuns, and seminarians who perform pastoral activities in three different churches.

In June, police dressed in plain clothes attacked Thien An priests and their followers when the Catholics attempted to defend a cross they had put up on land claimed by the church, sources told RFA in earlier reports.

“They threw stones at the priests and beat three or four of them,” one source said, adding that the attackers were accompanied by women and unidentified civilians who helped police to pull down the cross.

In June 2016, police stopped Thien An priests from building a road leading to the monastery’s garden, prompting Duc to petition national and foreign officials in Vietnam and at the U.S. embassy in Hanoi over what he called the illegal seizure of church land.

Authorities in Vietnam have long repressed the Catholic Church in the one-party state and subjected it to forced evictions, land grabs, and attacks on priests and their followers, sources say.

The U.S. State Department’s 2016 International Religious Freedom Report, issued in August 2017, said that Vietnamese government authorities restricted the activities of religious groups, assaulting and detaining church members, restricting their travel, and confiscating church land for development projects.

Groups not registered with the state were especially severely treated, the State Department said.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Comments (1)

Hate communism with a Passion

from ghet bac Ho

These commies don’t know their places or when to stop!
Within the church, either the Bishop (and above) or the congregation has the power to re-locate the priest. The rotation system is in place for the benefits of the congregation – the congregation needs to learn from different priests’ every 3-5 years. Also, if the congregation doesn’t like the priest, they can request to remove the priest at any time.
Hence, it’s a joke for an outsider to request a removal of a priest! This is meddling in church internal affairs. If the diocese owns the land since 1940, then clearly the land belongs to them.
Thua Thien, Hue is a prominent Catholic stronghold. This area suffered badly during the Tet Offense in 1968. This is when ole, dirty, evil, and blood-thirst Ho invaded the South during New Year – after all, he and his goons agreed on the New Years 3-days peace treaty! Besides killing a lot of innocent people, they were also holding a lot of prisoners. These were intellectual people. Communism seems to have a hatred toward intelligent people – ever wonder why?
During the retreat, they couldn’t deal with the large ‘prisoners’ so they shot and buried them all in the mass and shallow dug graves! Google it, the black and white pictures are still online.
For this, I will not forget; for my people; I will remember them; for the communists; I will not forgive them.

Jan 04, 2018 11:32 AM





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