Police have looked the other way as gangs of young people have terrorised a Catholic community in north-east Vietnam, according to reports.
Throughout June gangs of youths – wearing red T-shirts with yellow stars and waving national flags – have attacked Catholics and their property in Song Ngoc parish in Quynh Luu District of Nghe An province, UCA News reported.
Eleven priests wrote in a petition to the Vietnamese government: “We see that the attacks have been carried out in an orchestrated manner, and the police know well what is occurring, but are ignoring what is going on.”
The priests accused the government of “aiding and abetting those who intentionally violate laws, cause hatred and divide Catholics from others”.
The attacks have occurred at night, and at least two Catholics have been seriously injured, sources told UCA News.
Despite a heavy police presence, the youths have ridden motorbikes at full throttle through villages at night and thrown stones at a church and at the homes of Catholics. They have also intimidated businesses owned by Catholics and, in one case, the youths, armed with knives, threatened a Catholic shop owner and destroyed his goods while also driving away his customers. Catholics told UCA News that the youths were supporters of the Communist Party and criminal elements from other areas.
The gangs have put up banners calling on locals to expel two priests active in helping fishermen sue the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp for a marine pollution disaster last year which killed hundreds of tons of fish across 125 miles.
Cardinal Sarah: the call to chastity leads to joy and peace
Cardinal Robert Sarah has said that gay people are called to chastity, and that “we demean them if we think they cannot attain this virtue”.
In a foreword to the book Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay by Daniel Mattson, the cardinal writes: “To omit the ‘hard sayings’ of Christ and His Church is not charity. Indeed, it is a disservice to the Lord and to those created in His image and likeness and redeemed by the Precious Blood … We cannot be more compassionate or merciful than Jesus, who told the woman caught in adultery two equally important messages: ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.’ ”
The cardinal said he was moved by the testimonies of gay Catholics at a conference in Rome two days before the opening of the family synod. “Only when they lived in keeping with Christ’s teaching were they able to find the peace and joy for which they had been searching,” he said.
Cardinal Sarah concluded: “Only the Church has the answers to man’s deepest questions and deepest needs for love and friendship.”
Pope: the Eucharist can heal us
The Eucharist “is the sacrament of memory”, a reminder “of the story of God’s love for us”, Pope Francis has said.
Speaking after a Corpus Christi procession on Sunday, Francis said remembrance was “essential for faith, as water is for a plant”.
At a Mass outside the Basilica of St Mary Major, he said the Eucharist should awaken in us “the joy of living for love”.