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Catholics in Vietnamese city push on environmental issues

Special vigil held in Vinh after government admits hundreds of thousands affected

Published: August 01, 2016 09:51 AM GMT

Updated: August 01, 2016 10:00 AM GMT

Catholics in Vietnamese city push on environmental issues

More than 1,000 parishioners of the Vinh Diocese took part in a night time vigil July 31 to call attention to Vietnam’s ongoing environmental catastrophes, local church media reported.

During the special service, parishioners lit candles and prayed for the environment, according to Tin Mung Cho Nguoi Ngheo on Aug. 1.  Father Joseph Nguyen Xuan Phuong urged attendees to press the government to take better care of the Earth, invoking Pope Francis’ Laudato si'.

The vigil came just days after the Vietnamese government revealed that toxic waste linked to a steel factory hurt the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people. Some 100 tons of fish washed up in Central Vietnam’s shores in April as a result of the leak, sparking rare nationwide protests.

On July 29, the government announced Taiwanese plastics giant Formosa had paid the first half of a US$500 million fine to be used to clean the water and compensate those affected.

Catholics in Central Vietnam have been particularly outspoken, while Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh has come under fire for pushing for protests and investigation.  

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