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ICC Note: This Catholic bishop in Vietnam states that religious freedoms have eroded and greater controls on religious practices of have been imposed by the government there.  Please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Vietnam, that they will be able to open a dialogue with government authorities on the freedom of religion.

By Paul N. Hung

06/03/2015 Vietnam (AsiaNews.it)

“In our life, difficulties are a constant daily, everywhere and at all times. There are difficulties that affect individuals, families and the community as a whole. […] But when you face a number of problems, you need to show patience, become promoters of dialogue with the authorities. It is the only way to really solve most issues”, says Msgr. Michael Hoàng Duc Oanh, bishop of Kontum, in Kontum province, Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

Recently, a district of the diocese has been the object of the attack of the local Communist authorities, who have threatened to tear down 22 chapels used for functions and prayers. Therefore, even amid constraints and restrictions on religious freedom, the prelate urges restraint and use dialogue to solve conflicts.

The diocese of Kontum in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, was erected in 1884 and now has about 250 thousand faithful out of a total of 1.2 million inhabitants, half of whom belong to ethnic minorities. Responding to the call made by Pope Francis to strengthen the process of New Evangelization, the prelate will appeal to the whole community to “follow in the footsteps of Jesus.”

Conversely, religious freedom has steadily eroded in recent years. Under Decree 92, more controls and restrictions have been imposed on religious practice, boosting the power of the Communist Party and the one-party state.

The authorities have targeted religious leaders, including Buddhist and Catholic leaders, as well as entire communities.

In 2013, media and government carried out a smear campaign and targeted attacks against the bishop and ordinary Catholics in the Diocese of Vinh.

More generally, government repression tends to touch everyone who defends civil rights and the right to religious freedom.

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