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Bishops extend solidarity to faithful of Thai Ha
The bishop of Haiphong denounces the campaign of defamation against Catholics on the part of the government media. In a letter to the authorities, 82 priests of the capital appeal "not to criminalize such a dispute of a civil nature", and not to use "violent" security measures.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - Two bishops and thousands of Catholics yesterday went to extend their solidarity to the faithful of the parish of Thai Ha, participating in processions and prayer vigils to call for justice regarding the land belonging to the church. At the same time, 82 priests of the capital have written to the government appealing "not to criminalize such a dispute of a civil nature", in which the parish is pitted against the Chien Thang Sewing Company.
Posted on 06 Sep 2008
Hanoi: Bishops join demonstrators at Thai Ha
As a clear indication that Catholic Hierarchies give full support for the protest at Thai Ha, Bishops of Hai Phong and Thai Binh visited Thai Ha and led thousands of Catholics to the site. Also, 82 Catholic priests in Hanoi signed a letter expressing their  "extreme upset" with state-run media coverage over the dispute.

On 4th September, Bishop Joseph Vu Van Thien, from Hai Phong Diocese, travelled 100 km to Hanoi to give his support to protestors. He was accompanied by hundreds of Catholics, and dozens of priests and religious of his diocese.
Posted on 06 Sep 2008
Montagnards: Religious Freedom Lost in Vietnam

The Vietnam government has taken further steps towards total control of religious life and continued massive ill-treatment and arbitrary detentions.


Below is an article written by Michael Benge and published by the Frontline Magazine


In direct contravention of President Bush’s policy of promoting religious freedom abroad, the State Department has established a foreign policy toward Vietnam promoting that communist government’s control of churches. This is the same government that murdered over a million of their own people after the communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975.


Posted on 14 Aug 2008
Religious Freedom Lost on Vietnam

By Michael Benge | Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In direct contravention of President Bush’s policy of promoting religious freedom abroad, the State Department has established a foreign policy toward Vietnam promoting that communist government’s control of churches. This is the same government that murdered over a million of their own people after the communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975.

In the 1980s, the phrase "Coke Bottle Diplomacy" was coined to describe US policy put forth by our best and brightest of that time, whereby trade and American investment would bring communist China into the civilized world and change that country’s long history of human rights abuses and repression of religion and democracy. The policy never worked and has only resulted in a huge trade deficit, US dollars funding a huge military buildup, poisoned products, and untold number -- tens of thousands -- of Tibetans and Chinese killed and imprisoned in slave labor camps.

Posted on 05 Aug 2008
Pope tells Australians of God's plan for creation, especially people

SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) -- In the longest-lasting and longest-distance trip of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to Australians and to young people from around the world about God's plan for all creation, but especially for people.

The July 12-21 trip included several days of rest as well as meetings with representatives of Australia's government, Catholic Church and native fauna.

Relaxing July 13-16 at an Opus Dei-run center outside Sydney, the pope was treated to a visit from representatives


of Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo, including a koala bear, a wallaby joey and an echidna.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, papal spokesman, said the visit was the idea of Australian church officials; "they are rightly proud of the species that are found only here."


Posted on 21 Jul 2008
Pope's address at WYD prayer vigil in Sydney

(Original text - Plurlingual)

Dear Young People,

Once again this evening we have heard Christ’s great promise -- “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you”. And we have heard his summons -- “be my witnesses throughout the world” -- (Acts 1:8). These were the very last words which Jesus spoke before his Ascension into heaven. How the Apostles felt upon hearing them, we can only imagine. But we do know that their deep love for Jesus, and their trust in his word, prompted them to gather and to wait; to wait not aimlessly, but together, united in prayer, with the women and Mary in the Upper Room (cf. Acts 1:14). Tonight, we do the same. Gathered before our much-travelled Cross and the icon of Mary, and under the magnificent constellation of the Southern Cross, we pray. Tonight, I am praying for you and for young people throughout the world. Be inspired by the example of your Patrons! Accept into your hearts and minds the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit! Recognize and believe in the power of the Spirit in your lives!
Posted on 19 Jul 2008
Tensions rise in Binh Dinh as UBCV leaders prepare funeral for Supreme Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang

2008-07-07 | | IBIB

PARIS, 7 July 2008 (IBIB) -- Mr. Vo Van Ai, Director of the International Buddhist Information Bureau strongly denounced government pressure on the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) as UBCV Deputy leader Thich Quang Do and the UBCV prepare for the funeral ceremony of the 4th Supreme Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang who passed away on 5th July 2008. The funeral will take place at the Nguyen Thieu Monastery in Binh Dinh at 7.00am on 11th July 2008.

Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang in his open coffin with Thich Quang Do in the background (6.7.2008)



Posted on 08 Jul 2008
"Whilst Thich Quang Do prays for Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang's life, Hanoi is already planning for his death" - Vo Van Ai protests Hanoi's political interference into UBCV affairs
2008-07-03 | | IBIB

PARIS, 3 July 2008 (IBIB) - The International Budhist Information Bureau is shocked and outraged by the news report issued by the official Vietnam News Agency and relayed on 3rd July by several State-run newspapers in Vietnam (Thanh Nien, Hanoi Moi etc) concerning the "imminent funeral" of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang, 89, who is gravely ill at the Quy Nhon General hospital in Binh Binh.

Under the title "Unmasking the dark intentions of Quang Do", VNA states that Venerable Thich Quang Do and several senior UBCV dignitaries and Buddhist Youth leaders have gathered in Binh Dinh "on the pretext of visiting Thich Huyen Quang", but are in fact "awaiting his death" and "plotting to make use of his funeral make public the banned UBCV". The official press agency accuses Thich Quang Do and the UBCV of "usurping the right" (sic) to organise Patriarch's funeral, and claims that the funeral should be organised by the State-sponsored Vietnam Buddhist Sangha in Binh Dinh.
Posted on 04 Jul 2008
Letter to President George W. Bush

2008-06-23 | | Que Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam

Paris, 23rd June 2006

Dear Mr. President,

Today, the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung embarks on a 4-day official visit to the United States, accompanied by a large trade delegation, and you will receive him for talks at the White House tomorrow.

The White House's statement notes that you welcome this opportunity to advance U.S.- Vietnam cooperation on a broad range of issues, including ASEAN, the UN Security Council, education, food security and regional economic cooperation. Last --  but hopefully not least --  it says: "the President will also take this opportunity to highlight the importance he attaches to respect for human rights and the freedoms of speech, religion and assembly".
Posted on 26 Jun 2008
Vatican delegation returns from Vietnam, issues communique
VietCatholic News (18/06/2008 01:59)

VATICAN CITY, 17 JUN 2008 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique today, concerning the visit of a delegation of the Holy See to Vietnam.

"The Holy See delegation - made up of Msgr. Pietro Parolin under-secretary for Relations with States; Msgr. Luis Mariano Montemayor, nunciature counsellor at the Secretariat of State, and Msgr. Barnabe Nguyen Van Phuong, bureau chief at the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples - visited Vietnam from 9 to 15 June, and returned to Rome yesterday.. .. Their programme involved a series of meetings with the government authorities, both at central and local level, and with the Catholic community".
Posted on 20 Jun 2008

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