Outrage after Vietnamese officials disrupted Mass celebrated by Hanoi Archbishop
Outraged parishioners watched in horror as officials stormed a church in Hoa Binh Province and disrupted Mass. The worshippers were pretty taken aback by the incident on Sunday Feb 20 when Vietnamese officials wearing their helmets disrupted the 10 AM Mass celebrated by Hanoi Archbishop. “It was pretty confronting and really troubling to see the liturgy being stopped by several officials,” Archdiocese of Hanoi reported.

Local officials in plain clothes interrupted the Sunday morning service at Vu Ban parish. Led by the head of the local Communist Party chapter, they jumped to the altar, yelling at the Archbishop Joseph Vũ Văn Thiên of Hanoi to request that the Mass to be stopped immediately, and the congregation to be dispersed. Archbishop Joseph was concelebrating the seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time with some other diocesan priests at Vu Ban parish to mark the “Missionary Day of the Archdiocese.”

Built decades ago, the church is the largest one in Vu Ban town and can house hundreds of people.

The concelebrants and parishioners tried their best to protect Archbishop Joseph Thiên and removed the communist harassers out of the church. Though order was restored, and the Mass resumed after that, the surprise ambush left the congregation dumbfounded and shaken.

Moreover, the incident happened when the dust of the horrific murder of Fr. Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh, a Dominican missionary in Kon Tum province has not even settled. It has stunned both Catholics and believers of other religions in Vietnam for its audacity and blatancy in terms of violation of religious and human rights.

“When have we seen this behaviour before in history? This is the first time I have ever seen local government officials approaching the altar to disrupt the Holy Mass without waiting for it to end before harassing the priests as they used to do in the past. This is such uncultured, lawless action. It is a blatant blasphemy or sacrilege,” said Fr. Peter Nguyen Van Khai. He had been the former spokesperson of Vietnamese Redemptorists before travelling to Rome for further study.