Vietnamese students urged to protect human values, environment

Archbishop Thien marks the new academic year by telling youngsters to 'bank on Jesus'
Vietnamese students urged to protect human values, environment

Vietnamese students march in a road safety campaign in Ho Chi Minh City in 2017. Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi has called on Catholic students to pursue spiritual values and protect the environment. (Photo by Mary Vo/ reporter, Ho Chi Minh City
September 5, 2019
An archbishop in Vietnam’s capital has called on students to bear witness to the Good News by pursuing spiritual values and healing the environment’s wounds in the new school year.

Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi said society will become brighter and the Church will shine God’s glory more brilliantly if young people with tremendous spirit receive the light and spirit of Jesus, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

“To be doing so, you must train hard in human values, spirituality, intelligence and professional qualifications,” Archbishop Thien said in a special message to Catholic students at the start of the new academic year.

On Sept. 5, more than 23 million students from day nurseries to universities enter the school year in Vietnam.

The church leader urged them to live and work for what God calls. Studying means not only knowing and working but also fostering innovation, loving and serving other people, and living up to God’s will, he added.

Archbishop Thien asked students to lead a good life and respect the voice of conscience in the current educational environment where achievement-chasing problems caused by some teachers worsen the education system and produce negative results.

“As Catholic students, you should refuse things against the truth and let God’s word sanctify you in the face of dishonesty, which destroys education,” he said. “Please bank on Jesus, who is your fellow traveler and true friend.”

Archbishop Thien reminded students of Mother Nature who is crying. “Before the ecological crisis, going green is not only an effort to clear the environment but a healthy lifestyle.”

He said knowledge is not reflected by full marks but by students' understanding and protection of the values of life. They are invited to live in communion with nature, so “they should refuse to use unnecessary things but choose really durable and useful things so as to heal up wounds the creation suffers.”

On Sept. 4, the state-run Tuoitre newspaper quoted Education and Training Minister Phung Xuan Nha as saying that all schools should focus on training students in ethical values, healthy lifestyles, problem-solving skills, practical ways to protect themselves from violence and physical abuse, and conservation of the environment during this academic year.

Nha admitted that rampant bullying and the moral decline of many students were a concern for society. They are due to the school environment being affected badly by social evils, bad behavior of teachers and educators, and ignorance of human values, he said.

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