Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
EU and US condemn blogger verdict
Vietnam urged to honor international law and release them
- Asia Desk, Bangkok
- September 25, 2012
Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said in a statement today that she had â€śserious concernsâ€ť over the trial and that the â€śsentences in this case appear to be particularly severe.â€ť
She added: â€śThe EU recalls the fundamental right of all persons to hold and freely express their opinions in a peaceful manner.â€ť
Nguyen Van Hai and Marie Ta Phong Tan received sentences of 12 years and 10 years, respectively, with five additional years of house arrest, while Phan Than Hai received a four-year sentence and three years of house arrest.
The bloggers were found guilty of spreading â€śpropaganda against the state.â€ť
Ashton urged Vietnam to â€śrespect its international obligations and to release the convicted bloggers immediately.â€ť
The US State Department issued a statement yesterday also condemning the verdict.
â€śWe are deeply troubled by the convictions of three Vietnamese bloggers who appear to have done nothing more than exercise their right to freedom of expression,â€ť said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in the statement.
â€śThese convictions are the latest in a series of moves by Vietnamese authorities to restrict freedom of expression. The Vietnamese government should release these three bloggers, all prisoners of conscience, and adhere to its international obligations immediately,â€ť she added in the statement.
Nuland further noted that a free media was essential to an open and just society, and that protection of human rights â€śis a necessary step in developing a closer, more mature bilateral relationship.â€ť
During the trial yesterday, which lasted less than six hours, Nguyen Van Hai was quoted by the Agence France Presse (AFP)Â news agency as saying, â€śI just feel frustrated by injustice, corruption, dictatorship which does not represent the state but some individuals.â€ť
He added: â€śAccording to Vietnamese laws, citizens have the right to freedom of speech and it is in accordance with international treaties to which Vietnam is party,â€ť AFP quoted him as saying before his microphone was turned off.
Court sentences Christian bloggers