HANOI, Vietnam (CNS) — Redemptorists at a Hanoi parish have urged local Catholics to keep calm after a mob led by government officials attacked a convent and church in early November.
The Asian church news agency UCA News reported tens of thousands of people attended 10 special Masses celebrated Nov. 5-6 at Thai Ha Church in the capital. Each Mass was attended by an estimated 3,000-5,000 people.
During the Masses, priests told parishioners about the attacks and appealed to them to stay calm.
On Nov. 3, around 100 people, accompanied by security officials and members of the press, attacked the convent. They damaged a gate and verbally abused and physically assaulted several Redemptorist priests and laypeople.
They fled after the church’s bell rang out, bringing many people to the scene, UCA News reported.
“We strongly condemn this violent, rude and organized attack,” Redemptorist Father Joseph Nguyen Van Phuong, parish pastor, told one congregation. He urged them to “forgive them and avoid retaliation.”
He said the motive behind the attack probably stems from an ongoing dispute with the government over seized Church property.
“We are determined to fight for Church property in a peaceful way and urge the government to punish the rioters,” he added.
Local state-run media reported the attackers were locals who were angry at parish opposition to a government-run sewage treatment project close to the nearby Dong Da hospital.
Church sources told UCA News that on Oct. 27 about 40 Redemptorists and parishioners took to the streets to oppose the project and demand the return of several of the hospital’s buildings, which had been convents from 1931 until the government “borrowed” them in 1959.
The same sources said the authorities plan to demolish the buildings.
On Nov. 7, hundreds of local Catholics marched to the headquarters of the People’s Committee in Quang Trung ward to demand the authorities respect private ownership and return what they say belongs to the Church.
They said 97 old church facilities in Hanoi are in the hands of the government.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103