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Hanoi archbishop protests convent demolition
Hanoi Archbishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon has sent a letter to the authorities protesting over the decision of the city government to demolish the convent of the Congregation of Saint Paul.


Catholic Church News Image of Hanoi archbishop protests convent demolition


Hanoi Archbishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon has sent a letter to the authorities protesting over the decision of the city government to demolish the convent of the Congregation of Saint Paul.

“Since May 16, Archbishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon has sent urgent protest letters to Hanoi City Department of Health, Saint Paul Hospital, and relevant authorities at all levels objecting the demolition of Hanoi Carmelite Monastery,” said an Archdiocesan press statement, released on 25 May.

“The Sisters of the Congregation of Saint Paul in Hanoi have also sent their own protest letters to relevant authorities,” added the statement.

After the communist takeover of North Vietnam in 1954, the Vietnamese government ‘borrowed’ the Catholic-owned Saint Paul Hospital, and step by step evicted the nuns who lived at the nearby monastery.

Earlier this month, a City Department of Health plan to bulldoze the convent and replace it with a five storey building, was approved by the local government. The construction started almost immediately.

Hanoi Archdiocese, the legitimate owner of the convent, which still has a cross on the roof, has not been consulted or informed. The move has trigger angers among Hanoi Catholics who in the last three years have witnessed more and more Church properties being quietly confiscated.

The diocesan statement said that the local authorities and Hanoi Religious Affairs Committee held a meeting on 25 May to “listen to the aspirations” of Catholic representatives.

“Fr Alphonse Pham Hung, the archdiocesan chancellor, Fr James Nguyen Van Ly, the dean of Hanoi deanery, Sisters Nguyen Thi Vi and Nguyen Thi Lai attended the meeting where they peacefully yet strongly defended the Church legitimate ownership of the building” it said.

The Ordinance on Beliefs and Religions issued on 18 June, 2004, states that “legitimate properties of all faiths and religions are protected by the law”. However, as highlighted by Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Saigon in a recent letter to Vietnamese Prime Minister “in reality, there has been no single legal document stipulating clearly how they are protected and how the ownership rights of religious communities are protected.”

“That’s why a series of Church premises and land has been unjustly seized,” he said.

SOURCE:

Vietnam: church protests over convent demolition plan (Independent Catholic News)

Archdiocese of Hanoi protests over monastery demolition (VietCatholic News)

Posted on 26 May 2011

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