Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

04/11/2012 Vietnam (UCA News) – A bishop based in the Central Highlands has complained to the government after local authorities refused to allow priests to celebrate Easter with ethnic minority people.

“Religious freedom is not a favor but a fundamental and sacred right,” Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh of Kontum said in a letter to President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung.

The letter dated April 4 and posted on the diocese’s website on April 8 was sent to the country’s top officials after Dak Ha district authorities in Kon Tum province refused to allow the celebration of Easter rites in the village of Turia Yop.

District authorities said “security for the event could not be guaranteed.”

However, the bishop said this reasoning “is not convincing to people in the digital age.”

Bishop Oanh said Catholics are hated, maltreated and discriminated against by authorities in this district where religious activities are limited.

“Thousands of Catholics in this area have not enjoyed religious freedom for forty years,” he said.

“They have no priests, no churches and no liturgical services,” he added.

He said Catholics should enjoy religious freedom and live proper lives like others.

In February, Father Louis Gonzaga Nguyen Quang Hoa, a local priest, was attacked by three ex-convicts after he conducted a funeral service for an ethnic Sedang woman in Turia Yop.

Villagers suspect local authorities may have been behind the attack.

The diocese is home to many ethnic minority groups who were introduced to Catholicism by foreign missioners in the 19th century.

[Full Story]