After Vinh, Kontum bishop lashes out at Vietnamese authorities
Bishop Duc Oanh, in a letter to Thai Van Hang, called on the local administration "not to add fuel to the fire and cause more suffering to a population harmed by humans and nature."
Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh of Kontum in Vietnam's Central Highlands has requested Vietnamese authorities to end the slanderous attacks against the Bishop of Vinh and start process of reconciliation with the people.
In a letter to Thai Van Hang, deputy chief of Nghe-An Province, Bishop Duc Oanh called on the local administration "not to add fuel to the fire and cause more suffering to a population harmed by humans and nature."
The population is facing the ravages caused by last week’s Typhoon Wutip, which had flooded roads, knocked down power lines, demolished thousands of homes and damaged dozens of churches.
The Diocese of Vinh and its Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop have been at the centre of a smear campaign promoted by government leaders recently.
Locals said that Van Hang is behind the attacks against Catholics and the smear campaign on local and national media against Vinh diocese. He had issued a press release, with copies to every Vietnamese bishop; he asked them to isolate the bishop of Vinh and transfer him to another place because of an interview he gave to AsiaNews on September 18.
In the interview, the prelate had said that Christians were in a dangerous and troubling situation and appealed to the international community for an end to the repeated violations of human rights and the release of the two Catholics in My yen.
In the letter defending his confrere, Bishop of Kontum rejected the deputy chief's accusations and listed the attacks he had personally suffered over the years that closely resembled the incidents of My Yen. He named events involving the Hieu Dao Church (1975), the Duc Ninh Church (1982), Le Chi Church lands (1996), and the anti-Catholic persecution in K'bang and Kon Chro (2010), Turia Yop (2012), and the latest incident in Dak Pan.
Bishop Duc Oanh explained that in all these cases too, the authorities said they acted "for the common good" against people who "committed all sorts of sins," like causing public disorder, attacking officials and trying to overthrow the legitimate government.
The prelate said that the authorities must stop telling lies to the people and stop carrying out physical and verbal attacks against Catholics. Instead, they should respect religious freedom and people's political and civil rights.