Crucifix Destroyed, Catholics Injured in Vietnam

DONG CHIEM, Vietnam, JAN. 8, 2010 ( In Dong Chiem, several Catholics were injured by the police while attempting to keep the authorities from destroying a crucifix in the parish cemetery.

The crucifix was destroyed Wednesday with explosives. The faithful attempted to intervene, but hundreds of police accompanying the task force began to beat them.

Father John Le Trong Cung, the vice-chancellor of the Hanoi Archdiocese, reported: "At least a dozen people have been badly beaten, two of them were seriously injured and taken to a clinic in Te Tieu, where, however, they did not receive treatment. Later, the priests and the faithful found them and they took them to Viet Duc hospital, where doctors intervened."

The archdiocese condemned the "sacrilege" as an offense against the Catholic faith, AsiaNews reported.

Father Le Trong Cung stated that the hill where the crucifix stood has been owned by the parish for over a century.

He noted that it became a cemetery in the "time of the Great Hunger" when two million people died between October 1944 and May 1945.

The communist authorities denied this right of ownership, stating that "the land belongs to the people and the state manages it for the people."

The priest continued: "Now we are experiencing great pain and we are deeply anguished, because what happened to the crucifix is a sacrilege against Christ our Lord.

"It is a real sacrilege, an insult against the most sacred symbol of our faith. Brutally attacking unarmed and innocent civilians is a savage and inhuman act, which seriously injures human dignity. This senseless conduct must be condemned."