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THE CULTURAL SELF-DEFENSE OF THE VIETNAMESE CATHOLICS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

In July 1986, the struggle to have a personal parish for the Vietnamese Catholics in San Jose reached its highest point, and the cries of these people were heard throughout the world. Many television networks and news media have chosen to call this painful struggle the most serious religious event of the year of 1986.

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I. THE PASTORAL POLICY OF ASSIMILATION OF BISHOP PIERRE DUMAINE

On September 2, 1979, at the Commemoration Mass of Vietnamese Martyrs, Archbishop John R. Quinn solemnly decreed the establishment of a mission for the Vietnamese Catholics in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, California. San Jose is one of the cities in Santa Clara County and belonged to the Archdiocese of San Francisco. However, before the Archbishop’s decree was carried out, San Jose had become a new diocese, and Bishop Pierre DuMaine was appointed to shepherd.

On May 31, 1984, Bishop DuMaine decided to go against the wish of his predecessor, Archbishop Quinn, when he decided to establish a pastoral center for the Vietnamese Catholics. He divided the Vietnamese Catholics into three distinct groups: (1) elderly, (2) adults, and (3) youth and children. According to him, the last two groups do not need a parish because they can easily join the local American parishes. Only the elderly who can hardly learn English, really needs the Sacraments in Vietnamese and, consequently, a pastoral center is enough for them. The bishop explained his position in the above letter as follows: "I have decided to establish a pastoral center for Vietnamese Catholics instead of a national parish’. To him, a national parish may fully serve the oldest group, but it will partly and temporarily benefit the other two (adults and children). This policy of assimilation has gone against Catholic theology, the Canon laws, and the latest directives of our present Pope John Paul II with regard to emigrants and refugees.

In the Bible, the Jewish people were encouraged to return to their homeland (Gen. XXXVII-L), the land that God had promised to their ancestors. The Vietnamese refugees similarly dream that they can someday return to their homeland. A personal parish is the image of their beloved country and Mother Church back home.

Faith has built Catholic theology and different cultural traditions nourish it. While assimilation may he a social or a political matter, it cannot be a matter of the Catholic faith. When dividing the Vietnamese Catholics into three distinct groups, Bishop DuMaine believes that the last two groups need to be assimilated, the sooner the better. As such, it means that the majority of the Vietnamese Catholics in the San Jose community must commingle with local American parishes so that the language harrier can eventually be overcome. However, faith will grow and mature not through Vietnamese, English or any language, but through the cultural traditions. The Vietnamese Catholics have developed and nurtured their traditions for over 400 years with the help of many foreign missionaries. To disregard these traditions is to destroy the faith of the Vietnamese Catholic refugees.

According to the new Canon laws, promulgated in 1983, Code 518, or according to the old Canon laws of 1917, Code 216, the Church encourages establishing personal parishes or national parishes for ethnic groups and entrusts local bishops to act upon it. Given the faith of the Vietnamese refugees, a personal parish should he established regardless of any difficulties.
According to Pope Pio XlI’s Encyclical Exul Familia in 1952 and Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Pastoralia Miratorum Cura in 1967, they strongly emphasize the needs and cares of emigrants and refugees, especially the respect and preservation of their dignity and cultural traditions.

II. THE DREAM OF THE VIETNAMESE CATHOLICS: A PERSONAL PARISH

On June 2, 1984, the Vietnamese Catholic Council and the Ad Hoc Committee in San Jose presented 2,000 signatures opposing the bishop’s assimilation policy. They argued that it went against the true needs of the Vietnamese community. Afterwards, there were a series of meetings, prayer services, and letter correspondences between the Vietnamese Catholics and the local Church officials. Sometimes the campaigns created tension between the bishop and the community. If the Vietnamese Catholics’ aspirations and petitions were not considered, there would be a serious crisis in the new Diocese of San Jose, creating problems to the Catholic Church in the United States and Vatican as well.

On September 1, 1985, Bishop Pierre DuMaine reluctantly elevated the pastoral center to mission status instead of personal parish, even though it had fulfilled all the requirements for a personal parish.

In general, a pastoral center is established to prepare the faithful to enter local parishes. Therefore, a pastoral center cannot be used to perform sacraments of baptism, matrimony, funeral, or to say Sunday Masses, and Masses of obligation. As such, the pastoral center is not an official place to worship and preach God’s words.

Hence, the Vietnamese community in San Jose petitioned the bishop to establish a personal parish, but the bishop only gave a mission instead.

Today, the status of mission does not exist in the new Canon laws. However, according to the commentary, there are missions in some American dioceses, hut they are established only when number of the faithful is still small or the community does not have a church h building yet. In other words, a mission can be considered as a quasi parish in 11w new Canon laws. By establishing a mission for the Vietnamese Catholic community in San Jose, Bishop Pierre DuMaine showed lack of sensitivity, and disregarded the recommendations of Canon laws because these people had already fulfilled the requirements for a personal parish. Furthermore, a personal parish is not like a territorial parish. It is built so that people having the same traditions, culture, and language can preserve their precious cultural heritage. Due to the temporary and unstable status of a mission the Vietnamese justifiably demand a permanent organization which is guaranteed and protected by Canon laws. This organization is a personal parish which Bishop DuMaine refuses to grant his Vietnamese Catholics.

The petition for a personal parish also brings up the missionary need for a population of about 50,000 non-Catholics in the local Vietnamese community. It is necessary to mention here that Vietnamese Catholics are very sensitive to the word assimilation. The Church in Viet Nam experienced a great deal of hardship and difficulties, caused by the unpopular policy of the French colonialists. French missionaries were identified with colonialists. Catholics were misunderstood as colonialists’ followers and they became unfamiliar to their countrymen right on their homeland. Thus, Vietnamese Catholics are very unsatisfied with the bishop’s assimilation policy because it is really difficult to preach the religion to Vietnamese who have the complex and the prejudice against Catholics under the colonialist regime. Consequently, Vietnamese Catholics in San Jose want a personal parish, an institution with a firm legal basis and financial autonomy. They wish to have a personal parish which is the image of their beloved country and Mother Church of Viet Nam. They want to get the institution the Canon laws have reserved for them.

III. REV. JOSEPH NGUYEN VAN TINH, A NINE-MONTH PASTOR OF THE VIETNAMESE MISSION

On the day the bishop announced the establishment of the Vietnamese Mission, he also appointed Father Joseph Nguyen Van Tinh to be its pastor for nine months only. This appointment was against the spirit of Canon laws, Code 522, which does not encourage the pre-announcement for the term of a pastor because it may not give him a peace of mind to serve his duty.
The departure of Father Tinh, on the surface, seemed to be a change of personnel. However, many Vietnamese Catholics in San Jose knew that the bishop did not like Father Tinh because the latter was instrumental in leading the people to petition a personal parish. Since the day Bishop DuMaine became bishop of San Jose Diocese, the faithful have known well the dedication of Father Tinh and the mistreatment the bishop has reserved for him who has supported Vietnamese Catholics in their petition for a personal parish. To mislead the people who loved Father Tinh, the supporters of the bishop spread a rumor that Father Tinh was a communist. This rumor angered many people because they knew that Father Tinh was a very religious, prayerful, and patriotic man. Today, he is living in West Germany, and Bishop DuMaine apparently does not welcome him in his diocese.

IV. THE NEW PASTOP, FATHER PAUL LUU DINH DUONG, AND HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE VIETNAMESE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY

To replace Father Tinh, Father Paul Luu Dinh Duong was appointed as pastor of the mission. The appointment came when the tension between the bishop and the Vietnamese Catholics was running high. When Father Tinh was director of the Vietnamese pastoral center Father Paul and several Vietnamese priests formed a group called “support group.’ This support group signed a statement supporting the policy of assimilation of Bishop DuMaine. This group also accused Father Tinh, the Vietnamese Catholic Council, and the Ad Hoc Committee of misleading the Vietnamese community. In conclusion, the support group asked Father Tinh to resign. Nevertheless, two priests of the support group later disagreed with the statement. They apologized to Father Tinh, knowing that they would displease the bishop. In August, 1987, one of the two priests, Father Nguyen Chinh, was fired and expelled from the Diocese of San Jose.

Concerning the integrity of Father Duong, some Vietnamese Catholics are willing to testify that Father Duong was an author of numerous hate-mail passed during the time Father Tinh was with the community. Father Duong’s intention was to discredit Father Tinh in order to replace him and to undermine the petition for a personal parish. Further, during the time when he lived in San Jose, Father Duong never came to work, to help or to celebrate Masses with the Vietnamese Catholics in San Jose. They believed that Father Duong was appointed pastor only because he supported the policy of assimilation and wanted to turn the mission into a Catholic social service agency.

V. UNREST AND INJUSTICE

Right after the announcement that Father Duong was to be the new pastor of mission, the unrest of the people took its course for the worse. On June 21, 1986, after serious consideration, the Vietnamese Catholic Council petitioned the bishop to rescind the appointment of Father Duong so that peace could be restored to the Vietnamese Mission. Several weeks later, the League of Sacred Heart also announced that they could not accept this appointment. After this, the Vietnamese Catholic Mothers’ Association sent a letter to Bishop DuMaine saying that the transfer of Father Tinh and the appointment of Father Duong were acts of oppression and injustice. According to them, if an act of oppression and injustice came from a higher authority, namely from the bishop, there would be unrest and possible violence.

The majority of the Advisory Council in its meeting of June 20, 1986, also believed that appointing Father Duong to the Vietnamese Mission was a disservice to the pastoral work of the Vietnamese Catholics in San Jose.

The leader of the Eucharistic Youth Movement also presented to the bishop a letter on July 1, 1986, saying a personal parish is necessary to the youngsters.

VI. THE BIRTH OF THE COMMITFEE FOR THE DEFENSE OF JUSTICE AND PEACE IN THE DIOCESE OF SAN JOSE

After these events, the Committee for the Defense of Justice and Peace in the Diocese of San Jose was formed with the support and encouragement of the Vietnamese Catholic Council to act on the petitions of more than 2,000 Vietnamese Catholics in the Diocese of San Jose. The committee was established at this time for the purpose of having peace and justice. Because of this goal, the Vietnamese Catholic refugees have to live in pain and suffering. They had to leave their families and homeland to come to the United States. Therefore, there was no reason why they would refuse to protect and preserve peace and justice with all their hearts and minds.

The Committee for the Defense of Justice and Peace stated that their struggle was painful, not because of Church policy (the Church has encouraged the establishment of personal parishes), nor because of the Church in America (there are 17 Vietnamese parishes that were established throughout the United States), but due to the personal policy of Bishop DuMaine.20080927101627 culturalself4

The referendum of July 20, 1986 on the two petitions.

VII. TWO PETITIONS

Parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs’ Mission in San Jose requested Bishop DuMaine to satisfy their two petitions:

1. To establish a personal parish according to Code 518 of the new Canon laws for the Vietnamese Catholic refugees in San Jose.

2. To rescind the appointment of Father Paul Luu Dinh Duong as pastor of the Mission.

VIII. THE FIRST MEETING OF THE VIETNAMESE CATHOLICS ON JULY 20, 1986

On this day, over 2,000 people gathered at the mission to present the petitions.

IX. THE DAY FATHER PAUL LUU DINH DUONG CAME TO THE MISSION AS THE NEW PASTOR

In the afternoon of July 21, 1986, Father Duong and a small group of supporters came to the mission to enter his office. However, within 15 minutes many Vietnamese Catholics appeared from the surrounding area to block his entrance. Father Duong telephoned the police for help in the midst of the people’s anger. Some police officers had to put Father Duong in the restroom to keep him safe before Father Terrence Sullivan, the Vicar General of the Diocese, could come to take him away.

At seven o’clock the same day, Father Duong came back to the mission for the second time. This time, he came with Father Terrence Sullivan, Father Eugene Boyle, Sister Marilyn Lacey, and an equipped police force in seven cars. Nevertheless, more Vietnamese Catholics at the mission physically blocked the mission’s entrance from Father Duong and his people. After futile exhortations from Father Sullivan, the people refused to move. Not only that, they raised “No, Fr. Duong” signs to express their displeasure with him. In the end, the police requested that Father Sullivan take Father Duong away from the mission for fear that violence might occur. But, before leaving, the Vicar General angrily forced the two associate pastors: Rev. Nguyen Chinh and Rev. Do Van Dinh, to go with him to pressure the faithful to accept Father Duong. Since that day, they have not been permitted to come back to the Mission to serve their parishioners.

X. THE SECOND MEETING OF THE VIETNAMESE CATHOLICS ON JULY 27, 1986.

The second meeting was called the Day of Peace and Justice. Again, there were more than 2,000 people attending. At this time, some Americans came to speak and show support.

XI. MINORITY OR MAJORITY?

Since the Diocese of San Jose had maintained that only a few Vietnamese Catholics supported the Vietnamese Catholic Council and the Committee for the Defense of Justice and Peace, on a television program on August 12, 1986, the representative of the Vietnamese Catholics, Mr. Tran An Bai, challenged Father Terrence Sullivan to organize a referendum ) see whether the majority of the faithful would support the two forementioned petitions or not. The Vicar General rejected that proposition. Hence, following the Council’s recommendations, the Vietnamese Catholics of San Jose boycotted the collection baskets at the Vietnamese Masses to save money for a Vietnamese parish in the future.

XII. THE MASS OF RECONCILIATION AT THE CATHEDRAL

On August 8, 1986, Father Duong cancelled all Vietnamese Masses on the weekend SO that all the faithful would come to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to attend a Reconciliation Mass, although until then the Bishop’s See had not shown any sign of reconciliation because just a few days before, Father Duong gave orders to lock the Tabernacle at the Mission to prevent the faithful from receiving Holy Communion through the lay Eucharistic ministers. The real purpose of the Mass was to introduce Father Duong’s Movement for the Defense of Faith. Father Duong would use the image of this large audience to create an illusion to the bishop that many people supported him. Only Vietnamese priests of the San Jose Diocese were present because they could not go against the order. When Father Duong came to the altar, the faithful in the cathedral immediately raised up signs reading No Fr. Duong for 10 minutes. Reverend Larry Largente, rector of the cathedral, decided to cancel the Mass and the faithful quietly and calmly left the church.

XIII. INSTALLATION CEREMONY FOR FATHER PAUL LUU DINH DUONG

As scheduled, on August 16, 1986, Bishop Pierre DuMaine presided over the Ceremony of Installation for Father Duong as pastor at St. Maria Goretti Church which is a half mile from the Mission.

The Bishop and Father Duong entered the back door of the church between two lines of about 70 armed policemen and many police dogs. About 200 supporters of the bishop easily entered the church first with a special signal. Besides, nearly 300 other faithful could follow the first group after a careful search of body and bags. Despite the protest of over 2,000 faithful, inside and outside of the church, the Bishop continued the installation ceremony of Father Duong in a noisy scene that the American media compared it with “a football game “, with the presence of policemen and dogs turning their hacks to the altar. The media reported that the bishop disregarded the voice of the majority and deliberately created a group to support him. The installation ceremony was described as a marriage without the consent of the bride. In reality, there were still many empty pews inside the church. The police attacked and arrested two worshipers and kept them as hostages to guarantee safe departure for the bishop.

People questioned the value of this installation. Before leaving, the bishop stopped at the police car, looked at the two arrestees and smiled. ‘is that the attitude of a good shepherd, representing the God of Love?, a mother quietly asked.20080927101633 culturalself5



















 

The installation ceremony of Father Luu Dinh Duong was held with the presence of policemen and dogs turning their back to the altar.

XIV. THE BISHOP’S SEE TRIED TO EVICT THE FAITHFUL FROM THE MISSION

In 1981, the Vietnamese Catholic Community purchased the property of the Lutheran Church for $340,000 with a down payment of $75,000. The Diocese of San Jose granted the community a loan with 5.5% annual interest and monthly payment of $2,875 for the balance. However, the Grant Deed is under the name of the diocese.

On September 15, 1986, attorney William G. Felice, representing the Diocese of San Jose, sent a letter to Vietnamese Catholic Council ordering them to leave the mission before noon of August 18, 1986. If not, the diocese would employ legal measures to evict them. On August 22, 1986, Rev. Eugene Boyle, spokesman of the diocese, told the press and the media that the diocese was following the legal process to evict the faithful from the mission.

Therefore, the Vietnamese Catholic Council had to get assistance from an attorney to discuss the ownership of the mission’s property for the purpose of fighting the eviction procedure of the diocese. This is just a protective measure of the faithful.

The San Jose Diocese filed a law suit with the Supreme Court of Santa Clara County, California, to request an order of eviction, but the request was denied by Judge Robert Foley on April 3, 1987; as a consequence, the faithful can legally stay at the Mission.

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     The suffering faithful carried crosses in front of the Bishop's residence.


XV. THE EXCOMMUNICATION OF MR. TRAN CONG THIEN AND MR. TRAN AN BAI

To repress the filing of petitions of the faithful, Bishop DuMaine excommunicated Mr. Tran Cong Thien, President of the Vietnamese Catholic Council, and Mr. Tran An Bai, member of the Committee for the Defense of Justice and Peace. According to some ecclesiastical jurists, this decision was an abuse of authority because these two were not the trouble makers; they were the official representatives of the community. It should be noted that Mr. Thien and Mr. Bai, as well as the parishioners solicited the Church to consider the abuses and the wrong actions of the bishop, which may hurt the reputation of the Church and the salvation of the souls.

Therefore, the faithful believe that the penalty against their two representatives is unfair and unjust. This penalty of excommunication moved over 3,000 people to sign a protest letter to Bishop DuMaine. They wanted to receive the same penalty because their two spokesmen acted on their behalf by stating the truth for the faith and their religious traditions. Their actions are requirements of conscience and obligation and not of choice.

The two representatives appealed the case to Bishop DuMaine and the Holy See. The consequence was, according to Code 1353 of Canon laws, the penalty was immediately suspended. The proof was Mr. Bai received Holy Communion from the Vicar General on December 14, 1986, and the bishop gave Holy Communion to both Mr. Thien and Mr. Bai during Christmas 1986.

In March, 1987, His Eminence Antonio Cardinal Innocenti, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, sent a letter to the Diocese of San Jose, Mr. Tran Cong Thien, and Mr. Tran An Bai. On May 10, 1987, Mr. Thien and Mr. Bai accepted the invitation of Bishop DuMaine to serve on his Reconciliation Committee. In return to this gesture, on the same day, the Bishop signed a statement to lift the excommunication penalty with the confirmation: “The Bishop removes the penalty without prejudice to their status in the Church and the community.”

XVI. THE MOTION OF REVEREND VU DINH TRAC

On July 24, 1986, while the Vietnamese Clergy and Religious community held their national conference in Washington D.C., Reverend Vu Dinh Trac sent a telegram on his own initiative to support the effort of Bishop DuMaine and to urge the Vietnamese Catholics to be loyal to the Church. This telegram was used by the diocese to strengthen the position and decision of the bishop.

Father Vu Dinh Trac does not belong to the Diocese of San Jose; thus, he cannot understand the complexity of the issue. He only abused his reputation by unnecessary actions, which added more fuel to the flame. It should be noted that Father Trac and a number of Vietnamese priests are expecting to be accepted by a diocese. It is a good opportunity for him to serve Bishop DuMaine for his own interest and future opportunities.

However, the biggest obstacle for the diocese is that, though employing all church and civil authorities, the diocese itself still cannot break the unity of over 4,000 faithful. The motion of Father Trac does not help the bishop much; moreover, the reputation of the Vietnamese Catholic Federation in the United States is seriously hurt. Many Vietnamese priests, religious, and lay people disagree with Father Trac’s action in this matter. It is expected that the Vietnamese clergy must build a bridge between the American clergy and the Vietnamese faithful. By sending the telegram, Father Vu Dinh Trac diminished not only the minimal relationship between the Diocese of San Jose and the Vietnamese faithful, hut also the love between a Vietnamese shepherd and his Catholic countrymen.

XVII. THE “FALSE MEDIATOR” NGUYEN DUC THIEP

In September 1986, arriving in San Jose by the invitation of Bishop Pierre DuMaine through the introduction of the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio, Reverend Nguyen Duc Thiep told the press that he was the reconciliation mediator. He spent almost two months studying the situation and submitted a report of nine pages. He did not contact anyone at all during the ten days he waited for the reaction of the diocese. Then, he suddenly left San Jose and returned to his Congregation in Missouri without saying a word of good-bye. In November 1986, the Diocese of San Jose released a brief report of three pages of Father Thiep which supported the position of the bishop. At that time, Father Thiep explained that he was not a mediator; therefore, he had nothing to do with the reconciliation. The faithful were very disappointed because their two legitimate petitions were not mentioned in the report. Besides, during the time he stayed in San Jose, he came to meet with about 30 supporters of Father Duong. His briefing and criticism against the petitioners were taped, and the cassette tape was advertised to be sold for $3.00 each or more. In the Christmas issue of 1986, Catholic magazine “Dan Chua’ interviewed Father Thiep about the allegation that his congregation received profits in the sale of that tape.

XVIII. FATHER PAUL DUONG CREATED SUPPORTING GROUPS

In August 1986, under pressure of public opinion and the local community against the assimilation policy of Bishop DuMaine, Father Duong formed a group to support the bishop’s position. This group consisted of a few families, but the majority of the members were not registered parishioners of the mission. The Movement for the Defense of Faith met for the first time at 2175 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126, the Headquarters of the Social Services Agency of the diocese. That general meeting had about 50 participants.

Since this supporting group was so small, it sought to magnify its public image by forming different smaller groups with various names such as: Force of Catholic Veterans and Former Civil Servants, Council of Vietnamese Catholics in San Jose. But in reality all those organizations had the same people as members. They publish Tin Huu weekly bulletin and the Duc Tin, a special edition, to criticize the meaning of the struggle because their nature is to forget their origin and heritage.

XIX. A JOURNEY TO WASHINGTON, D.C.

On the occasion of the annual general meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops from November 10 to 13, 1986, in Washington, D.C., 20 representatives of the parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs’ Mission went to the capital to have an opportunity to present to the American clergy and the international media the longing of the Vietnamese Catholics in San Jose: a personal parish which represents the image of their beloved country and Mother Church of Viet Nam.

They stayed at the Capitol Hilton Hotel where almost 300 American bishops and cardinals met. They distributed printed materials, met with them individually, and talked to the international media about their legitimate petitions and the true meaning of their struggle. Bishop DuMaine came out to greet and praise the demonstrators in front of the hotel: You really draw the attention of the bishops.” The delegation proved to Bishop DuMaine that he could not succeed with repression or ecclesiastical penalties; the faithful are ready to deal with all forms of pressure of long or short range strategy from the diocese. There is no way the bishop can have peace as long as he disregards the legitimate aspirations of the faithful.

XX. THE RECONCILIATION PRAYING SESSION

In the spirit of reconciliation at Christmas, the Vietnamese Catholic Council and the Committee for the Defense of Justice and Peace organized a praying session for peace and reconciliation. They invited the officials of the diocese, including the bishop and Vietnamese priests, to attend the event in the hope of healing the wounds and creating an opportunity for reconciliation. However, the Bishop’s See rejected the invitation and prohibited all Vietnamese priests from attending this ceremony. Meanwhile, public opinion praised this initiative and goodwill of the faithful. The nation wide television networks such as NBC, ABC, CBS had special news on Christmas Eve about the party for 2,000. People prepared by the parishioners of the mission, about the praying session, and about the musical program for an audience of over 3,00() participants, organized by the Vietnamese Catholic Council and the Committee for the Defense of Justice and Peace.

Reporter Art Cribbs of NBC commented: “Christmas Eve is a Holy Night, a night of miracle. This group of faithful is hoping and praying. It is hoped that they will have their own church to worship according to their religious traditions and culture.”

Miss Susan Moczygamha of ABC reported: “The Diocese of San Jose often said the dissident group is small. Tonight, they show their superiors they have the majority. They hope the bishop will change his mind and grant them a parish as they wish to have."

Reporter Hank Plante reported further: “Vietnamese Catholics had Vietnamese Masses for over ten years from the day they arrived in this country; however, two weeks ago, Bishop DuMaine prohibited all Vietnamese Masses. He was invited to this ceremony of reconciliation, but he refused to come."

On January 1, 1987, the faithful, under the rain and the cold wind, stood before the huge statue of St. Mary, Our Lady of Peace Church, to pray for the reconciliation between the bishop and the Vietnamese Catholic community.

On the occasion of Vietnamese New Year “Dinh Mao", once again the faithful organized a praying session, hut the bishop did not come. However, Dr. Tran An Bai said: "The faithful will not discourage."

XXI. THE JOINT-STATEMENT OF MAY 10, 1987

After over ten months of petitioning, despite the solicitation of the faithful, the bishop continued his policy of assimilation, forcing Vietnamese Catholics to join the local parishes. Thus, the faithful had to call for help from the authorities of the Mother Church.

On May 10, 1987, under pressure from the Holy See, the bishop invited Mr. Tran Cong Thien and Mr. Tran An Bai to be members of the Reconciliation Committee. Their acceptance to be on the committee was considered as a condition to lift their excommunication penalty and help the bishop solve the current deadlock situation.

On May 10, 1987, the bishop and the two representatives of the faithful, Mr. Tran Cong Thien and Mr. Tran An Bai signed the joint-statement of reconciliation. This good news brought to the Vietnamese community in general and the Vietnamese Catholic community in particular a hope that the petitions of the faithful might be satisfied and the struggle might be ended.

Unfortunately, on the day the joint-statement was released, Father Luu Dinh Duong stated before a number of Americans, including Mr. McEntee, Director of Human Relations Division at Santa Clara County, that the petitioners were communists whose purpose was to undermine the plan of reconciliation. Meanwhile, the supporting group of Father Duong organized a press conference on the following day in San Jose to deny the joint-statement and to oppose the position of the bishop.
If the joint-statement could be literally applied, the struggle would be ended because it stated that:

1. The bishop would upgrade the status of the mission to a parish.

2. The bishop would restore quickly and fully Holy Masses and other Sacraments at the mission and normalize all pastoral activities.

However, over twelve months have passed since then and there has been no progress in the plan of reconciliation. It me ns that Holy Masses and Sacraments, as well as pastoral services t he mission, have still been banned. The associate pastors have been kept away from the mission, still, and they dare not come back to meet with their faithful.

It seems that the Committee of Reconciliation mislead the public into believing that the bishop wants a reconciliation when in reality he does not. Of course, the joint-statement was used to write an inaccurate report to the Holy See.

XXII. USING TIME AND SACRAMENTS TO DWIDE THE FAITHFUL

Thanks to the Statement of Reconciliation, public opinion has reduced its pressure and criticism of the bishop. Meanwhile, the bishop reported to the Holy See that the problem of the Vietnamese Catholics have been resolved. Yet, the agreements in the 01111-statement have not yet been carried out. For example, the statement said that Vietnamese Masses would he restored at the mission first, then other places. However, so far, Vietnamese Masses have not been reopened at the mission. The Bishop’s See used two local churches instead to permit Fr. Duong offering Vietnamese Masses for a small group of people who had entered the local territorial parishes. Thus, it is clear that the bishop has used Holy Masses as weapons to fight against and/or isolate the parishioners of the mission.

To organize Vietnamese Masses at the local parishes, the bishop had to hire a great number of policemen from 50 to 60, police dogs, and fire engines to prevent the infiltration of the struggling faithful. A big scandal occurred at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Milpitas on Sunday, June 7, 1987. Father Duong’s supporters pointed out a number of faithful whom the police forced to move out of the church. The police used nylon string to tie the wrist and grease pencils to write numbers on the face and body of the arrestees, including a six months pregnant woman and a young student just recovered from surgery. The Asian Law Alliance as well as a number of American and Vietnamese lawyers in San Jose strongly protested this violation of human rights. They intended to prosecute but the Milpitas Chief of Police acknowledged the wrongdoings and "promised” to punish his subordinates.

In the scheme of dividing the Catholic community, the Bishop’s See and Father Duong financially supported the Dan Viet Daily News, Tin Huu weekly bulletin, and Ve Nguon television program, which accused the faithful unfairly. They labeled the struggling faithful communists or heretics. They even slandered former pastor Nguyen Van Tinh as communist. These vicious media have divided Vietnamese Catholics and the split is far from healed. While creating ill will among the faithful, the Bishop’s See supported Father Duong in organizing the event of commemorating Vietnamese Martyrs on September 6, 1987, at the Civic Auditorium in San Jose. Father Duong was proud of the big audience, hut it appears that a number of participants came from other dioceses and many non-Catholics were there to attend the musical program, not the religious ceremony.
In brief, the Bishop’s See on one hand tried to delay the implementation of the agreements in the joint-statement while using Holy Masses to divide Vietnamese Catholics. All Vietnamese Catholics in San Jose clearly see this strategy of the Bishop’s See. Consequently, they have the conviction that the Bishop of San Jose considers his ego more important than the religious life of the faithful, and thus, he has made wrong decisions in dealing with Vietnamese Catholics.20080927101649 culturalself7






















The police used grease pencils to write on the chest and forehead of the arrestees who were presented to the community with the presence of witnesses.


XXIII. THE UNFAIR TERMINATION OF ASSOCIATE PASTOR NGUYEN CHINH

While delaying the implementation of the accord, the Bishop’s See decided to terminate the assignment of associate pastor Nguyen Chinh. This is not because Father Nguyen Chinh is incompetent, hut is due to his letter of clarification of October 18, 1984, in which he disagreed with the statement of Father Duong and some other priests supporting the assimilation policy of Bishop DuMaine and urging Father Nguyen Van Tinh, the previous Director of the pastoral center, to resign.

XXIV. A BLOOD LETTER TO BISHOP DUMAINE

Despite the discrimination, the mistreatment, the repression, and the punishment, Bishop DuMaine has unfairly put on the mission’s members, the latter are always patient. Their apostolic organizations are committed to regular activities without the presence of the priests. They welcomed the papal visit to the United States by organizing a week of prayers for the Holy Father. The more the faithful is oppressed, the more they become united and determined in their two legitimate petitions. The struggle recently reached its highest tension. On September 10, 1987, at the time Pope John Paul II landed in Miami, Florida, his first station, twenty people drew their own blood at the Bishop’s Headquarters in Los Altos, California, in front of the media to write a most serious message to Bishop DuMaine. This brave gesture shows their determination. It is hoped that those blood drops will awake the conscience of the bishop.

XXV. THE PLOT OF BURNING THE MISSION’S CHURCH

Lady Queen of Martyrs’ Mission, day and night, parishioners received many unidentified telephone calls, threatening to burn down the property.

After many days of careful watching, at 2:00 a.m., July 25, 1987, the security team caught on the spot two teenagers infiltrating the premises with arsoning equipment. The police was requested to investigate in order to prosecute them for attempted arsoning. Two days later, the Vietnamese Catholic Council convened a press conference to present the plot of burning the mission’s church with evidences. The parents of those two teenagers had been supporters of Fr. Luu Dinh Duong.
In the Easter week of this year, thousands of faithful from 9 different areas came to the mission to attend rituals commemorating the death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This fact made Father Duong upset and the faithful received some more calls of threatening. At 1:30 a.m., April 25, 1988, intruders successfully set fire to the sofa by the meeting hail. The door was burned and the flame reached the ceiling hut the watch team was able to put out the fire before the fire department arrived.

Presently, the mission is insured as a property of the Diocese of San Jose. Consequently, if the property is burned down, the Diocese will collect from the insurance company. The following day, the faithful came to pray and thank God as well as our Virgin Mary for saving the Mission. They also built up a higher fence with barbed wire on top to protect the House of God.20080927101658 culturalself8




















     Following the attempted arson, the faithful built up a high fence with barbed wire on top to protect the House of God.


XXVI. A NEED FOR AN INTERFERENCE FROM THE HOLY SEE

Since Bishop DuMaine persists in his decisions, the faithful expects the interference of the Holy See. This hope makes sense because they never had the intention of moving away from the Mother Church. They have shown their strong faith in Jesus Christ and his Mother, a faith that was introduced to them by their ancestors, the Vietnamese Heroic Martyrs. This tradition has existed for generations and will never change.

Evidence proves that the actions of Bishop DuMaine are not in accord with Canon Law 518, 522, 524, 1740, and 1741. Something must be done at the Holy See level to save the reputation of the Church and to protect the faith of those displaced Vietnamese Catholic refugees.

CONCLUSION

Vietnamese Catholic refugees risked their lives to escape the communist atheist regime to seek religious freedom. They have lost much: their country, their Vietnamese Church, and many lives to keep their faith. To the public, the Vietnamese Catholic Community in San Jose has been oppressed and discriminated against.

A personal parish is so important and essential to Vietnamese refugees because they look at it as the image of their beloved country and Church of Viet Nam. They are proud of their religious traditions which were given to them by their 130,000 ancestors who proved their faith with their lives. Among these Vietnamese Martyrs, 117 will he canonized on June 19, 1988 in Rome. A personal parish is a solace and a happiness to this displaced minority group. This parish will also enrich the Diocese of San Jose, as well as this multicultural country.

Since Father Paul Luu Dinh Duong is not interested in a personal parish, and has supported the assimilation policy of the bishop, he should be assigned to serve at local parishes. Furthermore, Father Duong made many offenses against the faithful and. according to Vietnamese culture, his personality and behavior cannot be accepted in a leader. Consequently, he does not have the required integrity and competence to he pastor of a Vietnamese parish.

In brief their petition for a personal parish is in accord with Canon Law 5 18 and the appointment of Father Duong is against Canon Law 524. Bishop Pierre DuMaine disregarded Canon Law 522 when he appointed Reverend Nguyen Van Tinh as p1stol for nine months only. He did not listen to the opinion of a great number of good and respectful parishioners who have opposed Father Duong. Bishop DuMaine’s decision is not in accord with Canon Law 1740 and 1741.

Therefore, the Vietnamese Catholic Community in San Jose needs the help of the Holy See, the National Conference of US Catholic Bishops, and the Community of Vietnamese Clergy and Seminarians in the United States. Furthermore, since Bishop DuMaine. has become insensitive to human rights and freedom of religion, it is strongly expected that the U.S. Senate and Congress, as well as the State Legislature will have appropriate means and ways to defend democracy and freedom of this country. 1 restore peace and justice in the suffering Vietnamese Catholic Community of San Jose, California, which has been oppressed arid mistreated right in the freedom abiding country, the United States of America.

Written in San Jose, Summer 88, to commemorate the day 117 heroic Vietnamese Martyrs are canonized by Pope John Paid II, June 19, 1988.

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