Fr. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly: Your Letter May Help
Fr. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly needs your support. At age 67, having suffered two strokes and now with a brain tumor, this courageous Catholic priest languishes in a Vietnamese prison for his advocacy of a peaceful transition to democratic rule for his country. An organization called Freedom Now, though not a Catholic group, has taken up Fr. Ly’s cause. They believe a letter from you (and me) will make a difference.
Our Catholic World News service has reported on Fr. Ly over the years, though we picked up his story only in the middle of his trials. Still, this series of 26 reports from 2003 to the present pretty much tells the tale:
- Relatives of Jailed Vietnamese Priest Accused of Capital Crime (04/11/2003)
- Vietnam reduces jailed priest's sentence by five years (07/17/2003)
- Relatives of jailed Vietnamese priest sentenced to prison (09/10/2003)
- US Senator visits imprisoned Vietnamese priest (01/09/2004)
- Vietnam continues repression of religion (02/02/2004)
- Vietnam reduces prison term for jailed priest (06/17/2004)
- Jailed priest released in Vietnam pardon program (02/01/2005)
- Stiff prison term for Viet priest, democracy activist (03/30/2007)
- Viet bishops deny government claim they supported priest's prosecution (07/13/2007)
- Imprisoned Viet Catholic priest denied Bible, sacramental wine (10/31/2007)
- Hanoi: archbishop under virtual house arrest (10/01/2008)
- Viet bishops ask prayers in struggle with government; US hierarchy expresses solidarity (10/06/2008)
- 37 senators urge Vietnam to release jailed priest (07/02/2009)
- Attacks against the Church erupt throughout Vietnam (09/28/2009)
- Viet police step up pressure against Hue parish (10/21/2009)
- Vietnamese dissident priest suffers stroke in prison (11/18/2009)
- Imprisoned Vietnamese priest reported in worsening condition (02/09/2010)
- Jailed Vietnamese priest, seriously ill, released for treatment (03/16/2010)
- Vietnamese police attack US diplomat during meeting with priest (01/06/2011)
- Three Vietnamese priests running for election to Communist ruling body (04/27/2011)
- Vietnamese priests elected to government bodies (06/03/2011)
- Vietnamese priest-activist returned to prison (07/26/2011)
- State Department calls for release of Vietnamese priest-activist (07/27/2011)
- Norway urges Vietnam to free imprisoned priest (08/08/2011)
- Vietnamese Catholic activists face prison terms for human-right leafletting (03/09/2012)
- Vietnamese priest, human-rights advocate, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize (02/07/2013)
According to Freedom Now, Fr. Ly has spent eighteen years in prison since 1977 because of his demonstrably peaceful advocacy for religious freedom and human rights.
The organization also says that letter-writing campaigns frequently ameliorate the conditions of incarceration for political prisoners, because the letters present evidence to the government in question that the world is watching. It is best to write a personally supportive letter in one’s own hand, making reference to the inspirational character of the prisoner’s work but without direct mention of the issues which led to his imprisonment.
As our news chronicle indicates, Fr. Ly was arrested again on July 25, 2011, and continues to be in very poor health. You can write to him in care of:
1776 K St. NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20006
More information on Fr. Ly, other prisoners, and how best to write them, is available on Freedom Now’s website.
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Posted by: John J Plick -
May. 25, 2013 12:18 PM ET USA
Mat 25:39 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' Ave
Posted by: Defender -
May. 24, 2013 11:15 AM ET USA
This is also the day the Holy Father (and Pope Benedict XVI before him) asks us to pray for China. The similarities between Vietnam and China, with their communist governments, are not very different. Pray for both countries that they may throw off the yoke of their oppressors and be able to worship openly and without fear.