Did you hear the news -- at http://wwrn.org/articles/32879/ -- that the vile and illegitimate Vietnamese Communist regime this week let Catholic hero Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly, 62 (above, being forcibly silenced by cruel Red thugs in court in 2007), out of one of their prison hell-holes -- temporarily, note! -- because they do not want him to die in their hands?
In the atheistic, totalitarian, Catholic-hating Reds' custody since 2007, brave Father Nguyen has gotten a brain tumor and has suffered three strokes. Now he is outside the prison walls, but he still is not free: The merciless Reds have him under house arrest and they want him back in prison a year from now, after he supposedly gets medical treatment and if he is still alive.
Father Nguyen was serving an eight-year prison sentence given him in 2007 and had previously served 14 years. His crimes were being a faithful Catholic and a defender of individual liberty.
So it is sad indeed that Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony's archdiocesan newspaper, The Tidings
, this week runs an essay (click on this post's title), previously published elsewhere, that criticizes liberty-loving Vietnamese exiles.
The essay is by Dr. Michael Downey. The Tidings
identifies him as "the Cardinal's Theologian, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Professor of Systematic Theology and Spirituality at St. John's Seminary."
A note says the essay "appears in The Tidings at the request of Cardinal Roger Mahony, Auxiliary Bishop Alex Salazar, Vicar for Ethnic Ministries, and the Archdiocesan Office of Justice and Peace."
Downey's essay accuses unnamed Vietnamese exiles of unfairly criticizing Cardinal Pham Minh Man of Saigon because in June 2008 he counseled three Vietnamese bishops against, as the essay puts it, "waving the flag of the [anti-Communist former] Republic of Vietnam" at the Sydney World Youth Day later that year, on the grounds that anyone's flying the flag of Free Vietnam is, the essay says,"a sign of disunity at odds with the spirit of World Youth Day."
The essay says, "[Cardinal] Pham wondered aloud [in a talk with the author]: If Christians are drawn together by the love of Christ, can they not in that love overlook political differences
?" [emphasis added]
Sorry, but totalitarianism and hatred of the Faith are far more than "politics."
The essay actually criticizes Vietnamese exiles for their "unequivocal demands for religious freedom in Vietnam." I am not making this up.
The essay also accuses Vietnamese exiles of "efforts...to fuel hatred for 'the Communists' in Vietnam..." It puts the word "Communists" in quotation marks!
And notice the characterization of opposition to Communism as "fuel[ing] hatred."
Now, I am not saying whether anyone's supposed criticism of Saigon's cardinal is correct or incorrect, just or unjust. My concern is that the essay contains not one syllable of mention of, let alone sympathy or admiration for, any of the Vietnamese Reds' prisoners of conscience today.
Maybe the cardinal of Saigon does defend prisoners of conscience and does stand up to the Reds. That would be great. But the essay in The Tidings
certainly does not tell us anything about that.
The essay proceeds to say that "the way forward" is in using "gracefulness, moderation, balance and respect for the other."
Don't look now, but that's what Jimmy Carter tried, and on his watch international Communism and its ruthless oppression of the people of the world progressed.
On the other hand, President Ronald Reagan coupled resolute firmness and clear calls for liberty -- "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
-- with personal reconciliation with the Soviet dictator, and the Evil Empire soon crumpled and hundreds of millions of people gained liberty.
Study the photo of Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly above and see what you think about overlooking "political differences" with atheistic, Catholic-hating Communist oppressors.
Let's pray for our fellow Catholics who are imprisoned in Vietnam and around the world for Jesus and the Faith. And let's act on their behalf, through legitimate prisoner of conscience groups.
Let's remember that Almighty God tells us in Sacred Scripture: "Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body." -- Hebrews 13:3. I don't see the word "overlook" there, do you?