Pell gives details on papal plea for Nguyen

The Vatican has appealed to the President of Singapore for clemency for Nguyen Tuong Van - the Australian who faces execution on 2 December - twice over the course of this year, Cardinal George Pell announced on Friday.

CLICK HEREA statement from Catholic Communications Sydney says that Cardinal Pell was speaking after having received notification this morning from the Vatican in response to a formal request for intervention that he made in February and again last month.

The letter from the Secretariat of State, the office responsible for the Church's Relations with States, says:

"Following the instructions of this Secretariat of State, the Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore presented two requests for clemency, one on February 28, 2005 and the second on November 1, 2005, respectively in the names of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI."

The letter says that in the first case, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore gave an assurance that the request for clemency was transmitted to the Office of the President.

"The Authorities of Singapore have not yet given any response to the second request. The situation does not appear to be hopeful, however, since clemency has been granted only in rare circumstances."

The Secretariat of State indicated that it "will continue to follow closely the development of this tragic case".

Cardinal Pell said he was very grateful for the intervention of both Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor Pope John Paul II.

"I deplore the decision of the Singapore government to proceed with this execution. Illegal drugs are a scourge, but the punishment in Van's case is completely disproportionate to the crime he has committed."

Cardinal Pell also expressed his prayerful support for Van and his family, indicating that "my thoughts and prayers go out to this young man and his mother at this most difficult time."

News On Papal Plea For Mr Nguyen Tuong Van (Archdiocese of Sydney 18/11/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Students Association: Background to Van Tuoung Nguyen Case | You Can Help

Catholic Students unite to help death row Aussie (CathNews 18/11/05)
Catholics and Buddhists pray to cheat hangman (CathNews 7/11/05)
Centacare Melbourne urges Govt to save Nguyen (CathNews 28/10/05)
Papal intervention for death row drug trafficker (CathNews 25/10/05)

Brother's pain (Daily Telegraph 19/11/05)
Congregation prays for Australian on death row (ABC Australia 19/11/05)
Stop this injustice. Let him live (Sydney Morning Herald 19/11/05)
Lawyers to tell Nguyen of his fate (The Age 18/11/05)
Two popes plead for Nguyen (The Age 19/11/05)

21 Nov 2005