Prelates in Ho Chin Minh City have told the faithful to steer clear of wrong-minded Marian cults
Divine Mercy devotees pray in front of a statue of Jesus at Tin Mung mission station. (ucanews.com photo)
Leaders of Vietnam's most active archdiocese have urged local Catholics to follow church instructions on worship and avoid deviant ritual practices claimed to caste out evil spirits.
Bishop Joseph Do Manh Hung, apostolic administrator of Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese in the communist nation's south, and Auxiliary Bishop Louis Nguyen Anh Tuan, said some local Catholics have adopted unsuitable practices.
They warned people against Mother Mary's Message, a Marian devotion movement launched by a lay man named Thomas Mary Nguyen Thanh Viet.
It has been claimed that Mother Mary healed him of illnesses in 2010.
The Marian group had spread "appalling" claims that endangered the faith of genuine followers of the Catholic Church, the bishops said in pastoral letter issued July 22.
The archdiocesan leaders also warned that Father Joseph Tran Dinh Long, who heads Tin Mung Mission Station based on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh, abused Divine Mercy celebrations by putting his hands on patients' heads to purportedly heal their illnesses. And he was said to have allowed people to bear witnesses to having been healed.
Thousands of people, including followers of other faiths, attend such services.
Bishops Hung and Tuan urged the faithful to deepen their knowledge of official Catholic Church teachings and follow mainstream church leaders rather than engaging in purported practices to "expel evil spirits."
The prelates added that Catholics should follow Jesus' example by fulfilling duties to their families, communities and society.
The bishops called on Catholics to build unity within the archdiocese.
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