Action Alert!

Fr. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly: Your Letter May Help

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | May 24, 2013

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:

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:

Freedom Now
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.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • 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.