The first idea came to me during the Holy Week of this year is ‘hope’ though I, through daily news, have quite clearly known that the situation of global Catholic Church falls into difficulty more and more. Holy Father Benedict is facing much sorrow because he has constantly prevented basic values of humans, such as “Truth, Love, and Life.” He has also been determined to renew the Church by renewing clerical rank. It is in this line that the year of priest was opened.

Because the Church has set her mind on renewing Herself, her leading enemy, the evil spirit, has been determined to sabotage the Church. He apply the strategy ‘using your stick to beat yourself’ to undermine and make the Church discouraged in preventing her traditional values. Satan has taken advantage of Catholic clergy’s faults of sexual abuses; even the faults had occurred 60 years ago, in order to promote hostile forces to attack the Church, destroy prestige of the Church, especially of hierarchy and even of the Holy Father.

If one analyses the virtue situation of the world, he will come to the conclusion that the present world is going down severely in many aspects, especially in the aspect of sexual moral. Is Aids that is spreading throughout the world not results of severe decadence of moral? One also cannot deny the situation, in which many families have been broken by divorces and led to tragic consequences. Abortion and discriminate killing have spanned and increased unacceptably. The blood of the innocent wakes up the heaven. Courts around the world resolve innumerable cases of family incest daily. Sexual abuses have occurred in agencies, enterprises, and even in schools from all over the world.

With regard to sexual abuse, one has to acknowledge that the proportion of violations in the Church is so small in comparing with that in the society. However, in hostility toward the Church, worldly forces including the press, media, and lawyer corporations, etc… focus on censuring the Church. What do they want? They try to decline the spiritual prestige of the Church so that the Church will no more say the things they do not like, don’t they? Of course, punishing criminals is sensible and victims of sexual abuse are pitiable and must be compensated satisfactorily. However, this is not a reason allowing smearing the whole Community and shifting the blame on the Community discriminately.

Clearly, shifting responsibility onto the Holy Father derives from the only intention to harm him. We attempt to think of a person who had been constant in studying and meditating theology for over a half of a person’s life; after that he was appointed to be Bishop of Munich diocese for a too short time to organize and stabilize the diocese; then he was transferred to Rome for the mission of ‘preventing Christian faith.’ He was so zealous in his mission that he was considered to be ‘strict’ and ‘a tank car.’ In opposite, he is shifted the blame of lacking strictness now. How ‘untruthful’ is ‘Human mouth’! The untruthfulness can be understood only if it derives from ‘the evil spirit.’ According to the Bible, Satan has been deceitful and untruthful since the beginning of time (see Gen. 3:4-5).

I suggest the time has come for us to speak in order to wake up conscience of journalists, those who work in social communication, lawyers who attach special importance to money, and political speculators so that they respect justice in appraising and criticizing about other people, keep politeness and civility in their words when they write or speak what concerning the leaders of spirit and religion, especially the Holy Father. Have a look at Muslims’ reaction when there have been words that they considered to be blasphemous to their religion or their spirit leaders.

I surprisingly wonder why many learned people in democratic and civilized societies have not do a calculation in order to compare gentle attitude of Catholics, especially of Catholic leaders, with the atrocious and vulgar attitude of those who have unceasingly criticized leaders of both religion and society. The extremely irresponsible attitude of some learned persons of our time is really acceptable no more.

The Holy Father Benedict XVI is really a gentle and unruffled person. His heart is full of love; his mind is open to others with spirit of dialogue, respectfully receiving frank and truthful words. The Holy Father is ‘a person of truth,’ constantly serves the truth, always uses subtle words to tell the truth. However, ‘deceitful forces’ are colluding with each one another to attack him. Since the beginning of history of Christianity, evil forces have colluded with one another in order to reject ‘God’s holy servant, Jesus, Anointed’ (Acts. 4:27).

I hope firstly all members of God’s people all over the world achieve solidarity in order to recognize ‘the danger’ of slanders and blasphemies deriving from anti-Church forces who are trying to undermine the prestige of the Holy Father and Hierarchy, rejecting the spirit and virtue influence of the Catholic Church; secondly clergy try to do their best to renew themselves and their life during ‘the year of priests,’ do not give the world a pretext to dishonor the Church and even the Lord Jesus.

Although evil are prevailing, God’s love for humans is bigger than evil and stronger than the death. Though the evil spirit becomes extremely cunning and converges a great deal of hostile forces to attack the Church, we must not fear. The risen Lord unceasingly comes and says to us: be not afraid! The Holy Spirit who is Love of the risen Lord will renew us both outside and inside. The most important is ‘human heart.’ Be vigilant over inner enemies, that is, evil in our hearts. Do not let ‘the evil spirit’ get a place in our hearts. Let the Love of the risen Lord purify and renew everything. The risen Lord is our ‘Hope’.

Paul Bui Van Doc

President of the Vietnamese Episcopal Committee on Doctrine