In an interview yesterday with the VietCatholic News Agency, he said that people were losing confidence in the government because it has stalled so long in returning the former nunciature buildings and a convent. Archbishop Joseph said: ""The dispute in the former nunciature has been dragged on for more than eight months. We have followed the policy of the Holy See to solve the dispute with frank dialogue. But it seems to be so slow, and that very slowness impacts heavily on Thai Ha issue." In a public statement on February 1, Archbishop Joseph Ngo confirmed reports that the government had agreed to return the nuncio's office to the Church, after more than a month of public protests by Catholics. In return for the government's promise, the Catholic protestors agreed to remove a cross and tents from the land adjacent to the building where they had been conducting regular prayer vigils. Archbishop Joseph had said the building would be turned over to the Church in a series of steps. However eight months on, was struck, no single step has been made. According to Archbishop Joseph, who has just returned to Hanoi after a visit to Orange County Diocese in California, another obstacle to resolving the dispute has been a 'tidal wave' of anti-Catholic propaganda put out by the state-run media, which ignores the religious order's legal claims to the disputed property. On 1 September Cardinal John the Baptist Pham Minh Man, Archbishop of Saigon said in a pastoral letter to the archdiocese that the government was abusing its power, ignoring the law and using excessive force to crush peaceful demonstrations. This would only create more injustice and social instability, he warned.
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