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Tribute to Vietnamese cardinal 10 years after death

Catholic World News - September 18, 2012

The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has paid tribute to the Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuán a decade after his death.

Born in 1928, Cardinal Van Thuán was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Saigon six days before the South Vietnamese capital’s fall to the Communist invasion. After an imprisonment of 13 years, he served as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace from 1998 until his 2002 death. His cause for canonization was launched in 2007.

“During the years of harsh imprisonment, the Servant of God Van Thuán drew strength from the love of the crucified Christ,” Bishop Mario Toso preached during Mass at Santa Maria della Scala in Rome. “He immersed himself in it celebrating the Eucharist in its greatest essence, moved by an ardent faith. He wished to represent such a suffering love to himself by making, piece by piece, the pectoral cross that, when he was released, he carried hanging from his neck, showing it to everyone, especially his refugee and emigrant fellow countrymen, as a sign of hope.”

“In his preaching he often quoted the liturgical prayer: O Crux ave, spes unica: Hail O Cross, our only hope,” Bishop Toso continued. “While he worked at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Servant of God Cardinal Van Thuán continued to look at the love of Christ crucified as the outstanding source of the humanizing and liberating renewal of culture, of politics, of the economy, of finance, of the family of peoples, of the mass media.”

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