Chiesa.com: The Peaceful Revolution of Vietnam's Catholics
On each of these occasions, the prompting was the request for the return of land and buildings confiscated from the Church by the regime.This is a fascinating story from a country in which the "blood of marytrs" abounds. Read it in full here.
In the north of the country, the confiscations go back to the 1950's, when the communists took power, and in the south to after 1975.
And the first and most important demand concerns the building that at one time hosted the pontifical delegation in Hanoi, next to the archbishop's residence and the cathedral of St. Joseph. The building was requisitioned in 1959, and is now used as a restaurant.
Last December 15, the archbishop of Hanoi, Joseph Ngô Quan Kiêt, asked for the building to be given back, and called upon the faithful to pray that justice be done.
The faithful took him at his word. Since December 18, every evening, they have gathered in front of the fence outside the former nunciature, praying and carrying flowers and candles. On Christmas Eve, there were 5,000 of them.
On December 30, prime minister Nguyên Tân Dung came among them. Pushing through the crowd, he entered the archbishop's residence, where he spent fifteen minutes meeting with Archbishop Ngo Quan Kiet. As he left, he was applauded.
But the protest did not die out. On the contrary, it expanded to other areas of the city.