Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items:
 News Briefs
 Word To Life
 More News:
 Special Sections:
 2007 in review
 Inside the Curia
 2006 in review
 Vatican II at 40
 John Paul II
 Other Items:
 Client Area
 Did You Know...

 The whole CNS
 public Web site
 headlines, briefs
 stories, etc,
 represents less
 than one percent
 of the daily news

 Get all the news!

 If you would like
 more information
 about the
 Catholic News
 Service daily
 news report,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 (c) 2007
 Catholic News
 Conference of
 Catholic Bishops.

 CNS Story:

VIETNAM-NUNCIATURE Sep-19-2008 (390 words) xxxi

Vietnamese government starts building on former nunciature grounds

By Catholic News Service

HANOI, Vietnam (CNS) -- Government authorities have started a construction project for a park and library at the former apostolic nunciature, a building Catholics have been trying to get returned.

Local church sources told the Asian church news agency UCA News that beginning early the morning of Sept. 19 hundreds of local police, mobile units and plainclothes security officials erected iron barriers blocking off the street from the former nunciature. Security officials also stood guard along the street.

Signboards saying "Construction site, taking photos banned" were put up near the barriers, the sources said. Two trucks and a crane were taken into the compound, they said, and workers toppled the iron fence in front of the building in the morning and moved some furniture out of it.

State-run media reported that district government authorities announced their construction plan at the nunciature Sept. 18, saying they would develop a flower garden on the 1,370-square-yard compound. The nunciature building will be repaired and renovated for use as a library, the report said.

Authorities confiscated the building in 1959, after which the Vatican's delegate to Vietnam shifted to Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, in what was then South Vietnam. The post of apostolic delegate to Vietnam has been vacant since 1975, the year communists reunified Vietnam.

According to the sources, the sudden government move at the nunciature caught local church officials by surprise, and they wrote the president, premier and Hanoi city authorities to protest the project.

Church officials rang bells at nearby St. Joseph Cathedral and other churches in the capital. Hundreds of seminarians, nuns, priests and lay Catholics gathered nearby at the gate of the Hanoi archbishop's house to protest the construction by singing hymns and reciting the rosary, the sources said.

In his petition to government leaders, Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi asked the government to stop damaging the nunciature site, which he said should be returned to the local church for religious use.

Last year, Archbishop Kiet petitioned the government to return the nunciature, which had housed a restaurant and gym club, to the church. Thousands of Catholics occupied the compound early this year but left after the government promised to return the property after the Feb. 7-9 Tet festival for the Vietnamese lunar new year.


Copyright (c) 2008 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250