Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – On Friday, October 22 at 12 noon, in the Hall of Conciliation of the Lateran Palace, Cardinal Vicar Agostino Vallini will open the diocesan session of the cause for beatification of Vietnamese Cardinal Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. Also present will be the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson in addition to other cardinals.
Born April 17, 1928 in Hue, Vietnam, Van Thuan was ordained priest on June 11, 1953. Having finished his studies in Rome, he returned to his homeland as a professor and then rector of the seminary, vicar general, and later Bishop of Nha Trang. Appointed by Pope Paul VI as Titular Archbishop of Vadesi and Coadjutor of Saigon (Thanh Pho Chi-Minh, Ho Chi Minh Ville) on April 24, 1975, after a few months, with the advent of the communist regime, he was arrested and imprisoned. He lived in prison for 13 years, until November 21, 1988, without trial or sentence, spending 9 years in solitary confinement on charges that his appointment was the result of a conspiracy between the Vatican and the imperialists. Prior to his isolation, he began writing messages to the Christian community on sheets of paper delivered to him in secret and later confided to a child, who handed them over to the faithful to be copied. In his long isolation in Hanoi, under surveillance by two guards, he gathered all the pieces of paper he could find, making a small booklet in which he wrote down over 300 passages from the Gospel, celebrated the Eucharist on the palm of the hand, and also created small Christian communities that met to pray together. Released on November 21, 1988 with the appointment as Archbishop Coadjutor of Saigon, on November 24, 1994, he was appointed vice-president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, then President in 1998. In this position he remained until 2002, when he died of cancer. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 21/10/2010)