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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 against the beatification of Cardinal Van Thuân. Canonisation process witness stopped at airport

Hanoi (AsiaNews/agencies) - Vietnamese authorities have prevented the literary critic Nguyên Hoang Duc, a firsthand witness in the beatification process of the Card. François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, from getting on the plane bound for Rome. The former official of the Office for Religious Affairs and Public Safety was expected on July 5 in the Vatican for the closing ceremony of the diocesan inquiry, with a view to the beatification of the Vietnamese Cardinal; however, despite the official invitation, he was blocked by public security officials. Among the reasons, Hanoi's opposition to the whole process of beatification.

According to the man's story, recounted on the Vietnamese language edition of Radio Free Asia (RFA), on the evening of 2 July Nguyên Hoang Duc presented himself at Nôi Bai airport in Hanoi. He presented his ticket at the gate of the Thai company, the airline he was to travel with to Italy. However, in response, he was told to present himself at the offices of public security of the airport.

An official told the Vietnamese critic and intellectual that he was "not authorized" to leave the country, without specifying the reasons for the refusal. The agent merely added that he was "following orders". After various talks and discussions, he managed to establish a kind of verbal proceedings, in which the refusal to travel abroad imposed by the authorities was "expressly stated".

Among the reasons for the border police's intervention, is the "disagreement" of the Communist Government with the canonisation of the Cardinal, who in his long and troubled life spent 13 years in the regime's prisons. This highlights the "extended stay" of a high prelate in government prisons. Then follow other reasons more related to the "personality" of the literary critic, a former government official, now a freelance writer and often critical of the authorities.

Hoang Duc you Nguyên today is known and appreciated for his literary work, but his life is closely linked to that of Card. Van Thuân, on account of meeting the Cardinal, the desire to convert arose in Mr. Hoang Duc. According to the former official, "fascinated" by the Cardinal's personality, there are three "miracles" he received from his meeting with the Cardinal: conversion to the Christian faith, healing from a disease and the revelation of a future event. His journey of conversion to Catholicism and the subsequent baptism are recounted in a text entitled "Way of Faith, with the Intermediation of François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân". A narrative which has contributed to the beatification of the Vietnamese Cardinal, which Hanoi authorities want instead to hinder.

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