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  • Hanoi's Thai Ha church attacked

    Local government forces attacked and ransacked St Gerard chapel for the second time in Hanoi's Thai Ha Redemptorist parish over the weekend.


    Independent Catholic News reports a large gang, backed by the People Committee of Quang Trung precinct, attacked Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery chapel in Hanoi on Saturday.


     Government officials and police prevented parishioners from saving the building.


     Fr Joseph Nguyen Van That, vice superior of Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery said: "At 10pm local time, on Saturday night, a delegate of the People Committee of Quang Trung precinct came to Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery asking for an urgent meeting with the Redemptorists while hundreds of people attacked our Saint Gerardo Chapel."


     In an urgent email, sent to Redemptorists in Vietnam, Fr Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai, the secretary of Vietnam Redemptorist Province, asked his confreres to pray intensively for Redemptorists in Hanoi.


     Fr Dinh said Hanoi Redemptorists rang bells to summon nearby parishioners to rescue the monastery. Thousands of Catholics and nearby parish priests rushed to the site to stop the gang from destroying the chapel.


     Hundreds of police with stun guns prevented them from entering the chapel. A parishioner said the gang ransacked the chapel and asked police if they could set it on fire. They were instructed to "wait for an order from higher ranking officials."


     This was the second time the Saint Gerardo Chapel has been attacked. On Sunday September 21, the chapel was ransacked with statues destroyed, and books torn to pieces.


     The thugs "yelled, smashed everything on their way, threw stones into our monastery, and shattered the gate of Saint Gerardo Chapel," wrote Fr Matthew Vu Khoi Phung, Superior of Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery in a letter sent to People's Committee of Hanoi City and police agencies of Hanoi and Dong Da district.


     "Everything happened clearly in front of a large number of officials, police, security personnel, anti-riot police, and mobile police ­those who in charge of keeping security and safety in the region ­but they did nothing to protect us," Fr Matthew said.


     After Sunday Masses, a great number of Catholics from St Joseph's Cathedral and other parishes travelled to Thai Ha to pray and express solidarity.


     "It's an obvious persecution against Catholics by the government," said a parishioner from Thach Bich. "For years, Redemptorist priests and their faithful have requested for the requisition of their land illegally seized by the state. Having trembled their legal aspiration, the government now openly persecutes them," she added.


     "It was significant that the government stroke Thai Ha parish right on the day Catholics in Vietnam celebrated the Feast of Vietnamese Martyrs," a local priest said.


     "This attack reminds people that since its very first outset, the seed of Faith in Vietnam soil was mixed with the abundant blood of the martyrs from all walks of life, from the courageous missionary clergy as well as the local clergy and the Christian people of Vietnam. The Church in Vietnam today is not better or even worse than in the past," he warned.


    CathNews Australia



    Posted on 18 Nov 2008

    Vietnam News