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Vietnam

OFFICIALS TELL PRIEST TO STOP CAUSING DIVISION AMONG CATHOLICS

Updated: February 13, 1990 05:00 PM GMT
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A source knowledgeable about Church affairs here told UCA News that government officials asked Redemptorist Father Chan Tin to avoid activities that may cause division among Catholics.

The cause for the government´s concern came from the publicizing, by Father Chan Tin, of letters he wrote to Vietnam´s bishops. The government made its request to Father Chan Tin at a Nov. 9, 1989 meeting.

The letters questioned, among other issues, the role of the Committee for the Solidarity of Vietnamese Patriotic Catholics (CSVPC) of Ho Chi Minh City, criticized its members, and asked that the bishops push for the return of Coadjutor Archbishop Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.

The source here also said that these activities had actually dealt a setback to Church efforts to gain Archbishop Thuan´s return to the city.

Meanwhile, sources in Paris report that Father Chan Tin sent his own account of the meeting to overseas Vietnamese Catholics in which he argued that by setting itself up as a mediator between the Church and the government, the CSVPC was the real source of the division.

Father Chan Tin stated that the CSVPC "flattered" the government and "distorted" his words and the aspirations of Catholics.

The CSVPC explained in its "Vietnamese Catholics Amidst of the Nation" English booklet that it was set up by a group of Catholics, mostly priests, to serve the Church, promote dialogue between the Church and the government, and act as a platform for the involvement of Catholics in social and development work in the archdiocese.

The CSVPC was created in 1983 and is recognized by Archbishop Paul Nguyen Van Binh of Ho Chi Minh City.

In his account, Father Chan Tin also defended his "advice" to Archbishop Binh regarding Archbishop Thuan, arguing that the naming of Archbishop Thuan as coadjutor was a valid appointment from the Holy See.

-- Archbishop Thuan was appointed coadjutor in April 1975, before the end of the Vietnam war. After the war, he was put under house arrest in Hanoi. Though he is now free, the government has not allowed him to return to his post.

Sources in Vietnam said the past history of the Church under the late President Ngo Dinh Diem was the main reason the government has not allowed Archbishop Thuan, a nephew of the late president, to take up his post.

END

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