Vietnam authorities interrupt Mass led by archbishop

February 24, 2022

This government disrespect of Roman Catholic worship as shown here has ominous implications for all the Christians of Vietnam, and is yet another example of how the persecution of Christians is often abetted by or even initiated by government authorities.

Vietnam is under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, which is subject to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Russian Orthodox Church also has one parish in the Vietnamese port city of Vung Tau. Otherwise, most Christians in Vietnam are Roman Catholic or Protestant. 

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Vietnam at, see here.

“Vietnam authorities interrupt Mass led by archbishop,” UCA News, February 24, 2022:

Authorities from a northwestern province in Vietnam have been accused of disrespecting religious services after interrupting a Mass celebrated by Hanoi’s archbishop.

Archbishop Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hanoi and nine priests concelebrated a Mass at Vu Ban Church in Lac Son district of Hoa Binh province on Feb. 20.

Hanoi Archdiocese said in a report that when Mass-goers prepared to receive the Eucharist, two officials suddenly rushed to the sanctuary and demanded those gathered to disperse.

It said the Mass was interrupted for some minutes and resumed after some priests and laypeople struggled to ask the officials to leave the church.

A two-minute video clip posted by one of the Mass-goers showed that the officials — one of them in a face mask, motorcycle helmet and raincoat — shouted loudly and pointed at priests. They took the microphone on the lectern, ordering all people to “break up. If not, we will make reports and take appropriate measures.”

Some priests and lay leaders prevented them from approaching the altar and Archbishop Thien before asking them to leave the sanctuary while other priests were receiving the Eucharist and people said prayers and sang hymns.

Local people identified one of the officials as the party chief of Vu Ban town.

So far the reason behind the incident has not been released. However, many people expressed their strong disapproval of the two officials.

Regardless of any reason, they said, this was an illegal act, harassment and an unacceptable insult to religion. The officials had total disrespect for religious places.

They said the authorities should have waited until the end of the Mass and worked with priests and Catholics as liturgical services are sacred….