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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brother viciously beaten in Dong Chiem, a parish under siege

by J.B. An Dang

In a statement to be read in all churches until next Sunday, the archdiocese of Hanoi speaks of hundreds of police agents and soldiers forcibly blocking anyone who tries to reach the Dong Chiem parish church. Those who dare approach are threatened and can be arrested.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Vietnamese authorities appear to have opted for a violent crackdown. In Dong Chiem parish, a man religious was viciously beaten (pictured), many people have been threatened, some arrested, whilst the local church is under siege, no one allowed near it. This comes after Catholics held a peaceful rally to protest the destruction of a cross on Mount Tho in an area owned by the Church for over a hundred years. Meanwhile, expressions of solidarity have poured in from Catholics in other neighbouring provinces of northern Vietnam.

The parish church “has been completely surrounded and isolated” since yesterday. “Anyone who approaches the entrance is stopped by security agents who man checkpoints around the building. Priests from the Hanoi deanery have been stopped before they could cross the Xay River bridge, some 500 metres from the church.”

The archdiocese of Hanoi has used the aforementioned terms to describe the situation. Its strong-worded statement will be read in all of the capital’s churches at the end of every Mass, starting today until next Sunday.

Saint Francis’ prayer will be read. “Where there is hatred, let me sow love,” the text says, “for the parish priest, his vicar and all his faithful,” and “especially for our brothers and sisters” who have been “beaten and jailed. May they firmly keep their faith in this time of difficulty and be able to join the mystery of the Cross of Christ.”

The statement goes further. “We want man’s fundamental human rights be respected,” it said, “so that our country can have peace, justice, democracy and know true civilisation”.

It also refers to hundreds of police agents and soldiers, some in uniform, others in plain clothes, mobilised for the action against the parish. It speaks of parishioners terrorised by loud speakers spewing insults, lies and threats against the parish priest, Fr Nguyen Van Huu, his vicar, Fr Nguyen Van Lien (who have already been interrogated and threatened several times by police) and parishioners. Altogether 16 people are said to have been detained or arrested...  Read the whole article.

AtonementOnline

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.