Vietnam: bishop asks government to close anti-Catholic magazines

 Following the publication of a series of anti-Catholic articles in a magazine for the state-sponsored 'Vietnamese Catholic Church, a bishop has asked the government reconsider the role of the publishers: 'the Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics'. Soon after the Communists took control of Vietnam, the committee was set up with its 'Vietnam Catholics' and 'Catholics and People; magazines. The committee's intention was to promote a state-controlled Catholic Church in Vietnam. But it failed to attract support, while the underground Catholic Church has always survived, in spite of great difficulties. The Vietnam leadership has often repeated that the committee and its publications, is needed to help Catholics be good citizens and promote dialogue between the Church and the government. However, in a statement released on 1 March, Bishop Francis Nguyen Van Sang of Thai Binh diocese said that: "Without the committee, the faithful in my diocese are living as good citizens, and good Catholics. We live in peace, in harmony and have good relationships with everyone. That reality is recognized by everyone." "We do not need that sort of committee." said the prelate underlining that: "We are afraid that the committee only complicates things". He urges the government to reconsider the role of the committee saying "It's only a burden on the nation budget" while causing more suspicions and divisions between Catholics and the government. The Bishops in Vietnam have expressed concern that the tone of the two magazines is very hostile to the Vatican and distorts Church teachings in many ways They have asked the government to close the magazine. JB An Dang

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