CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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Priest allegedly attacked by corrupt police

Hanoi (AsiaNews): Father Joseph Nguyễn Văn Thế, assistant parish priest of Đồng Chuong parish, in the diocese of Bắc Ninh, Tuyen Quang province, northern Vietnam, was allegedly attacked by police while on his way to celebrate two Masses in a remote area on May 7.

The priest, who has been boldly critical of the corruption of the local authorities and police, was beaten with sticks and metal bars, sustaining serious injuries to his hands and feet. He has beean hospitalised.

The attack occurred at around 6.00pm local time as Father Nguyen was headed to Sơn Dương district. Witnesses said, “The aim of the criminal group was to kill him. But their attempt failed.”

Father Joseph Nguyen Van Phong, the vicar of the parish said, “This is a deliberate attack, under the direction of the local government and police. It was not a random aggression.”

Bishop Cosma Hoàng Văn Djat, from Bắc Ninh, was able to visit Father Nguyen in the hospital.

He told the bishop that some police officers had apparently gone to the parish office to find out where and when he would be celebrating Mass. Then as he left Minh Thanh, where he had celebrated his first Mass, and headed towards Hop Hoa, he was set upon by masked goons on motorcycles who attacked him “with batons, sticks and iron bars.”

Some parishioners reported, “People who follow a different faith from (what the) government dictates are increasingly repressed and abused.”

 A young man speaking on condition of anonymity said, “Father Thế is a kind old priest. He helped so much, and came here to work and serve the faithful and the residents.”

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