Waiving the Vatican flag, tens of Thousands of Catholics walk from parishes throughout Vinh Diocese to the sanctuary of St. Anthony to show their support to Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop, who was publicly slandered on state TV on Sunday September 15, and parishioners of Nghi Phuong who was beaten brutally by police on September 4.

The faithful also prayed for the meeting of priests and bishops in the diocese who gathered to discuss the situation and prepare a letter of protest against slanderous accusations of the government.

Here is the opening speech of Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop:

During these days we become inundated with all sorts of false, slanderous, whitewashing, deceitful, labelling, and manipulative information. More than ever, the Word of God we just heard is indeed our compass, and an effective dosage of medicine for our lives: "The truth will set you free".

From a religious aspect, the Truth Jesus mentions here, first of all, is God's revelation, God's word, and His salvation plan.

Secondly, from a cognitive aspect, the truth is the correlation between our words, assessment, and determination with the objective reality, with historical events. Jesus asserted "Your word must be truthful, yes means yes; no means no; all that embellished and crooked are the product of evil.”

God, the absolute Truth will unmask all schemes that are dubious, slanderous, deceitful, and fraudulent...He will liberate us from wrongfulness, especially from fear when facing deception. Disciples of Christ are never alone but accompanied by their congregation and they will always walk in the light of God's Word. When someone acts in accordance with The Gospel and stay faithful to his conscience he will become unusually wise and courageous, no longer be fearful on facing the darkness of deception.

There was upon a time people acclaimed deception and regarded it as the most effective means of propaganda. It is assumed that if one keeps lying and lying then...in the end that would have some residuals left over. Look at the German fascists, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, and now... some authorities have been using lying as the manual for propaganda as "the oldest trick in the book". In the past, they were able to successfully fool the public or at least caused them to be puzzled, suspicious of, and smearing the good name of their adversaries.

Globalization and the technological and scientific revolution have brought about modern technologies that help mankind easily unmask frauds and deceptions. Furthermore, humanity is increasingly embracing a governmental model of democracy, rule of law and separation of powers, in which the government must respect: the truth, human rights and dignity, transparency and justice - peace.

Our country is also making baby steps in joining the main stream of humanity in the twenty-first century. The Vietnamese government signed the "Declaration by United Nations human rights" as well as "The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights". Unfortunately, in our country, these important texts have not yet been brought into life.

Thank you all for being here to show solidarity with the diocese and My Yen Parish in this crucial moment. With a sense of responsibility, with respect for the truth and freedom of conscience, each of us is at liberty to express your views about how the events unfolded in the afternoon of September 4, 2013 in My Yen, Nghi Phuong, also what have been happening since the afternoon of May 22, 2013 until now.

More than ever, we are called to express the spirit of the Gospel and pray fervently for the Church and for our country of Vietnam. I wish the authorities know how to apply our national culture as orientation for the construction to development of the country in order to build an advanced, developed, multifaceted, and humane society.

Translated by VietCatholic