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Old Saigon Echo website
from 2008 - 2012
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Director: Bai An Tran, Ph.D.

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Hanoi: attacks continue against Thai Ha parish

Local authorities, hooligans and police intensify attacks, threats and acts of violence against Catholic religious and laity trying to defend their parish from unlawful dispossession.

Vietnam f 1124 - Preghiere Thai Ha

 Dozens of people have been arrested. Prayers are being said around the world for Thai Ha.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – In the past two weeks, Vietnamese Catholics both at home and abroad have prayed non-stop for Thai Ha parish, northern Vietnam. Incredibly, 600 police and local government officials have surrounded the Redemptorist parish church, seizing its land. Redemptorist priests and religious were mistreated and threatened, but parishioners, including young people, are still gathering at Thai Ha to pray to God and Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

Communist Party officials broke the cross in Dong Chiem. They poured dirty oil on the statue of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Thai Ha parish, broke into a church courtyard and desecrated the Eucharist in Hanoi Cathedral. In Thai Ha church, more than a hundred hooligans attacked the Redemptorists and threatened to kill them. 

Local authorities, which are supposed to protect religious freedom, instead violated it. Wherever Communism and atheistic materialism rule in Vietnam, religion is oppressed.

“Many people have endured the injustice of prison without trial,” Paul Hung, of Thai Ha parish, told AsiaNews. “In the city of Hanoi, local authorities are using thugs and police agents to crack down and arrest the faithful, patriots like Fr Nguyen Van Ly, but also some 20 bloggers and 15 young Catholics.”

For many members of Thai Ha parish, the authorities “are engaged in dialogue with Redemptorist priests in Thai Ha, whilst using hooligans to devastate and destroy the parish. They use plainclothes police to break the law. They rely on hooligans to attack the faithful and the clergy so as to avoid criticism from Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups.”

Speaking to AsiaNews on ‘Teachers’ Day’ (20 November), Fr Nguyen said, “Once the educational system is built on atheistic materialism, the regime becomes egocentric and deceitful towards the people.”

“We need prayers for ourselves and for the young generation to protect us from atheistic materialism,” said Bishop Hoang Duc Oanh.

In reference to education today, he said, “Let us pray for a just educational system, one that can prepare people to be good in society. Let us pray for a harmonious development based on justice and love as Jesus taught us.”

Recently, some 500 Vietnamese-Australians organised a prayer vigil in Melbourne for Thai Ha parish and their homeland. “We have a duty to speak for those who have no voice,” said Bishop Vincent Nguyen Van Long. 

Urging the gathering to pray for those treated unjustly, he said, “Our concern is for our brothers and sisters, who are victims of deceit. Let us raise our voice to demand the protection of justice and the public interest of the Vietnamese people.”

Sadly, such solidarity towards the Vietnamese Church is hard to come by in other parts of the world.

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