Vietnam: government calls for expulsion of Redmptorists

 The government of Hanoi has demanded that the Vietnam Conference of Catholic Bishops move Redemptorists out of the city.

In a letter to Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon of Dalat diocese, president of the Vietnam Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Fr Vincent Nguyen Trung Thanh, Vietnam Redemptorist Provincial Superior, city chief Nguyen The Thao accused Hanoi Redemptorists of "smearing the system of justice in Vietnam" asking for their transfer out of his area.

Thao stated that the trial against eight parishioners of Thai Ha on 8 December had been fair. He accused in particular Fr John Nguyen Ngoc Nam Phong of "insulting and ridiculing the court" by saying that it was "a court of devils."

Threatening legal actions against Fr Nam Phong, Thao demanded Bishop Peter Nguyen and Fr Vincent Nguyen to immediately transfer out of his area Fr Mathew Vu Khoi Phung, the superior of Hanoi Monastery; Fr Peter Nguyen Van Khai; Fr Joseph Nguyen Van That; and Fr John Nguyen Ngoc Nam Phong.

Three months ago, Thao asked the Vietnamese bishops to reprimand the Hanoi Redemptorists for what he described as "inciting riots, falsely accusing the government, disrespecting the nation, breaking and ridiculing the law, instigating others to violate it."

In particular, he asked the conference to "punish severely" and to "transfer them out of Hanoi's area". The bishops have answered him by defending Hanoi's prelate, Redemptorists, and their flock.

But the bishops said: "They have not done anything against current Church Canon Law."

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