Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a letter to the Archbishop of Hanoi asking him to facilitate dialogue with the Vietnamese government by ensuring peaceful public demonstrations.
In his letter written in French and dated January 30th, Cardinal Bertone explains that he has been following the events in Hanoi “with great attention and concern” as the longstanding tensions between the Archdiocese and the communal authorities have come to a boil.
As he has watched the protests unfold, Cardinal Bertone wrote that he was filled with admiration for “the sentiments of fervent devotion and deep attachment to the Church and the Holy See expressed by the thousands of faithful who, day by day, gather peacefully to pray before the place, which has become a symbol demanding that civil authorities to take into account the needs of the Catholic community.”
However, the Secretary of State also expressed his concern that “there is the danger that the situation may get out of control and could turn into verbal and even physical violence.”
Given the possibility of violent repression, he asked in his letter to Archbishop Ngô, “in the name of the Holy Father… to intervene, so as to avoid gestures that disrupt public order and so that things may return to normal. In that way, it will be then possible, in a more serene climate, to resume dialogue with the authorities, and find an appropriate solution to this delicate problem.”
Cardinal Bertone closed his letter by saying, “I can assure you that the Holy See, on its side, as it has always done, will not cease to be a messenger of the legitimate aspirations of Vietnamese Catholics before the Government of your country.”