Over the past few days, many western
media agencies have reported that during the Thanksgiving ceremony on
January 25 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Hanoi Archdiocese and
the 90th birthday of Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung, several Catholics who arrived
for the celebrations were arrested and beaten. What is the truth behind the
As Thanksgiving is of great significance to the Catholic community, the Hoan
Kiem District People’s Committee sent an official letter to the Hanoi
Archdiocese, asking it to organise the mass in line with the Ordinance on
Religion and Belief and instructed parishioners and Catholics to keep law
and order and not to obstruct public transport or affect the surrounding
Shortly after the mass ended, several parishioners and Catholics marched to
hold a vigil in front of the buildings at No42 Nha Chung street which is
being jointly used by the Hoan Kiem District’s Culture and Information
Division, the Cultural House and the Sports and Physical Training Centre.
According to reporter Huong Ha from Hanoi Moi (New Hanoi) newspaper,
some Catholics used big pliers, hammers and crowbars to break the fence
surrounding these agencies. Previously on December 20, 2007, some extremist
Catholics erected a big statue of the Virgin Mother there.
Because this piece of land belongs to the Hanoi Archdiocese, several
extremist Catholics pulled down signs for the Sport and Physical Training
Centre, broke through the entrance gates and chased off the security guards.
The fact is that when these guards tried to prevent the Catholics from
entering the buildings, they were beaten up and then brought to hospital for
treatment, it was not the Catholics who were beaten by the security guards
as several western media agencies had claimed.
For the buildings at No. 42 Nha Chung Street, in an official dispatch to the
Hanoi Archdiocese dated November 6, 2007, the Ministry of Construction made
clear that it would implement the State policy on house restoration. Priest
Nguyen Tung Cuong, representing the buildings’ owners, handed it over to the
State on November 24, 1961. The 11th National Assembly adopted Resolution
No23 on November 26, 2003 regulating the ownership, management and use of
State houses to implement the policy on housing and land management and the
socialist reform policy on housing and land before July 1, 1991.
Accordingly, this piece of land, which has been managed and used by the Hoan
Kiem District People’s Committee, belongs to the State.
On the afternoon of January 27, when VOV reporters arrived at the scene,
several extremist Catholics were putting up tents on the premises, causing
public disorder and traffic congestion.
Local people expressed indignation against the Catholics’ acts.
“Beating up the on-duty security guards was completely wrong,” said Cao Tuan
from Kham Thien Street. “The case should be handled by law.”
Another local resident said, “In defiance of the State ban, the Catholics
intentionally put up tents inside the buildings. This is the wrong thing to
do and affects the lives of people living nearby. This is a violation of the
State law and these people should be strictly dealt with.”
The acts committed by some extremist Catholics not only seriously violated
the State law and Ordinance on Religion and Belief, but also went against
God’s teachings that Catholics must lead an evangelical life and contribute
to national construction and development.