Bishops gave their blessing to protestors
Thousands of protestors on the streets of Hanoi despite of threats
Facing a tidal wave of false accusations, distortions, insults, and intimidations against Catholics furnished by the state-run media, Archdiocese of Hanoi issues a statement to be read at every Sunday Mass asking the faithful to forgive and to pray for state media personnels who are insulting them, including those who have reapeatedly cried out for “extreme actions” against them. Archbishop of Hanoi and Coadjutor Bishop of Bui Chu visited and blessed protestors on Friday afternoon.

In a statement released on Friday, Fr. Anthony Pham Anh Dung, the vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Hanoi, warns priests and faithful of the archdiocese on treacheries of state media. “In these days,” he observes, “we have to see on newspapers, radio, and TV so much distortional information on what is happening at Thai Ha – Hanoi. Reporters have tried to make up fake scenarios to distort and deceit public opinion.”

The statement goes on citing particular examples in which people masquerading as priests and lay Catholics have been employed in interviews on TV, radio, and newspapers. Therefore, “all priests and faithful must be smart and vigilant should they be contacted by state media,” Fr. Anthony warns.

“We also not to forget to pray for penmen and other media personnels. May they know how to respect every one, and have the courage to act according to their conscience,” Fr. Anthony suggests requesting the statement to be read at every Sunday Mass throughout the archdiocese.

In another development, Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi and Bishop Peter Nguyen Van De of Bui Chu joined more than two thousands of protestors on Friday afternoon when the superior of Thai Ha monastery and some other priests were being “summoned” by police. “I know at this time all your priests are summoned, no one stay at home. So I am here to help them doing church keeping,” Archbishop Joseph Ngo joked with protestors.

Bishop Peter Nguyen, travelled more than 200 km to join with protestors, also joked with them that state television had repeatedly warned to imprison anyone who dared to be here to pray, especially priests. So he wanted to be here “out of the fear to be alone outside when all priests are jailed." His joke was intensely welcomed by protestors.

Being feared that the Redemptorists could be arrested, hundreds of protestors followed them to the People’s Committee of Dong Da. When the Redemptorists returned to the monastery, the two Bishops gave their blessing to protestors and prayed for a while with them. So far, the protest in Thai Ha has been supported and blessed by the presence of all Bishops in the northern region of the country. It is unprecedented event in the history of the Church in Vietnam.