New Directive from Hanoi on Church Property: Nothing Will Be Given Back
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced on Tuesday, January 6, that none of properties confiscated from the church will be restored to their owners, and that any faithful who demonstrate and “create social disorder” will be severely punished.
1/8/09 Vietnam (AsiaNews) None of the 2,250 properties confiscated from the Vietnamese Church will be restored to their owners, and those “transmitted” by the state to “organizations or agencies, must be used effectively for the correct purpose, and not offend the feelings of religious followers,” or they will be taken back and used for public purposes. The faithful will be severely punished if they demonstrate and create “social disorder.” These are the measures of the new directive from Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung (N° 1940/CT-TTg), concerning “land and properties of religions,” made public on January 6.
“The new directive has nothing new,” says Fr. Joseph Nguyen, from Hanoi. “Take the nunciature as an example,” he told VietCatholic News. “It has been converted into a public park even there is already a huge park at the Hoan Kiem Lake (‘Lake of the Returned Sword’) just a few hundred meters away. Can anyone say that the nunciature is now used ‘effectively’ and ‘in a way that do not hurt the feelings of the faithful’?” “Obviously, the new directive does not try to solve issues relating to land and properties of religions that have been seized by Vietnam government,” he concluded. “The directive and what the Vietnam PM said on the government’s web site tend to focus more on the threat to punish harshly any land protests from Catholics and other religions’ followers.”