OK to join Communists, Vietnamese Bishop tells young faithful
A Vietnamese bishop has told a gathering of 60,000 young people that they have the right to join the Communist Party provided their faith is not threatened.
UCA News reports that Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh (pictured) was responding to a question from a participant who asked whether religious freedom is respected in Vietnam and whether Catholics are allowed to join the Communist Party.
Bishop Nguyen replied that from the Church's standpoint, religious freedom is part of human nature and inherent from birth, since religion covers the relationship between a person's soul and God.
However, this concept of religious freedom has hardly been implemented in Vietnam, the Bishop said, since relations between the government and Church were strained in the past by war, ideology and historical complications.
"Whether to join the Communist Party or not is your right," he continued. "The Church just reminds you to consider whether such an environment threatens your faith or not," he said, adding that faith "is above all."
"The Church never wants to oppose any government but wants to call it to respect freedom of religion," Bishop Nguyen stated. "Whether to join the Communist Party or not is your right," he continued. "The Church just reminds you to consider whether such an environment threatens your faith or not," he said, adding that faith "is above all."
Bishop Nguyen was speaking at a gathering at Vinh in northern Vietnam of Catholics aged 18-30 taking part in the fifth annual northern Vietnamese Catholic youth gathering.
Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi, six bishops, 200 priests and a few thousand nuns also attended the gathering on the theme "What shall I do, Lord?"
Archbishop Kiet identified "individualism, consumerism, liberalism, relativism and materialism" as common factors connecting various social problems.
Liberalism leads many people to "mistakenly think that freedom means the rights to do whatever they want and to say whatever they want to say," the Archbishop said.
He also warned that while a market-oriented economy encourages people to work and do business to get rich and develop the country the danger is that people may come to respect only material things.
Northern Youths Raise Concerns With Church Leaders (UCAN, 28/8/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh (Catholic-Hierarchy)
Diocese of Thanh Hoa
29 Aug 2006