VRNs (17.11.2011) – A large number of police have been deployed to protect building workers constructing a hospital sewage treatment plant on the land of Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery despite strong protests of Redemptorists and their faithful.

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At 10:30 pm local time on Nov. 16, dozens of police moved into the area of dispute inside Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery blocking all the roads. More police are reported to be deployed today. The move signifies the resolution of Vietnam government to solve Church land dispute at Thai Ha by force.

Hanoi Redemptorists disclosed on Wednesday that local authorities and Dong Da Hospital “invited them” to have a talk on the dispute. But, the talk turned out to be a chance for officials to ridicule them. All the officials attending the meeting were those of low levels who came just to talk “none sense”, said a Hanoi Redemptorists’ representative.

Movements of police, and security forces in the capital during Wednesday put Hanoi Redemptorists and their faithful at Thai Ha on alert on a government’s plan to solve the dispute at Thai Ha by force as it did at Hanoi nunciature on Sep. 19, 2008.

For years, Redemptorist priests and their faithful have requested for the requisition of their land illegally seized by the state.

What has repeatedly named as “public property” on the state claims was actually purchased by the Redemptorists in 1928 for the sole purpose of building a monastery and a church. The Redemptorist monastery was dedicated on May 7, 1929 and the church 6 years later. After the communist took control over North Vietnam, the local government had nibbled piece by piece on the monastery and parish land. The area occupied by the monastery had been reduced from 61,455 square meters down to 2,700 square meters.

On Jan. 6, 2008, parishioners protested a State plan to sell their land to private estate developers for profit. In response, after a series of attacks, arrests and even putting on trials against parishioners, the government hastily converted the land into a public park.

Since July this year, Redemptorist priests and their faithful have protested a plan to convert another piece of their land into a hospital sewage treatment system. The construction of such a sewage treatment system right next to the church and the monastery has been seen by many as a plot to take revenge on Redemptorist priests and their faithful.

At 14:45 on November 3, 2011 a group of about 100 people, who, from nowhere, broke into the courtyard of Thai Ha parish church with two loud speakers in their hands cursing at our religious, priests, and parishioners, before physically attacking them. The intruders also insulted and threatened to kill many clergy and parishioners. More outrageously, they even used sledgehammers to smash the church’s properties. They only abandoned their act of terror, and withdrew when the bells started tolling and countless people from the neighbouring parishes came to rescue.

During the last four months, state-run media system has also been employed by the communist government of Vietnam to repress and sully the will for justice, peace, and truth of our brother and sister parishioners of Thai Ha, Hanoi.

In another development, on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from Rome, Fr. Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R, the Superior General of Redemptorists sent a letter of communion to Fr. Vincent Pham Trung Thanh, the Provincial Superior of Vietnam Province expressing his concerns on recent attacks on the Redemptorist Monastery in Hanoi and his regret that Fr. Vincent was not able to be present in a meeting with all the English-speaking Redemptorist Provincials Superiors in Rome, Italy (November 11-19).

The Vietnamese government has prevented Fr. Vincent from leaving the country.

“I want to assure you that we keep you in our prayers, and hope that the [Vietnamese] government will soon permit you to participate again in meetings outside Vietnam. This is important for all Redemptorists because we are an international Congregation. These meetings strengthen the bonds of brotherhood among us, and provide an important means of communication,” wrote the Superior General of the Order.

J.B. An Dang

Source: Vietcatholic.net