Viet bishops in confrontational meeting with prime minister
October 02, 2008
A delegation of Vietnamese bishops met with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Wednesday, October 1 to discuss issues relating to growing tensions in Church-state relations. State television broadcast a long detailed report. In his opening statement, the prime minister asserted that the government's stance on the ownerhips of seized church properties would remain the same. He went on to criticize Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi quite harshly, accusing him of "having actions and words that had damaged his own reputation among the Vietnamese Catholic Community and the society as a whole."
Dung's statement came as a shock to the bishops since it blatantly contradicted with what he had solemnly promised to Hanoi archdiocese, and to the Vatican early this year. State television did not show reactions of bishops. However, “they frankly rejected every accusation against the Hanoi archbishop,” said Father Joseph Nguyen from Hanoi. “The bishops also denounced the on-going defamations against the prelate and other Catholic leaders, and the attacks at Thai Ha, and Mac Thuong parishes, as well as at Hanoi archbishop’s residence,” he added.
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