Cardinal Van Thuân's Cause to Begin

Vatican Official Recalls Vietnamese Prelate's Devotion to Hope

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ROME, APRIL 24, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân's beatification process is about to begin, some five years after the Vietnamese prelate's death.



Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi made the announcement when presenting a book by Cardinal Camillo Ruini entitled "God's Truth and Man's Truth: Benedict XVI and the Great Questions of Our Time."

The book is being published as a part of the Cardinal Van Thuân International Observatory's "Journals" series.

Bishop Crepaldi explained: "The book urged me to link the theme of truth -- of God's and man's -- to which Cardinal Ruini's book is dedicated; and the theme of hope, so dear to the departed Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân and at the core of his spirituality and his exemplary living of human and Christian life."

The prelate, who worked with the cardinal and who is president of the Van Thuân Observatory, explained how "truth and hope have deep ties. The intelligence of faith leads me to the firm conviction that truth, in surrendering or uncovering itself, reveals a vocation and therefore brings about hope."

Biography

Bishop Crepaldi underlined the connection between the theme of the book and the Vietnamese cardinal, saying that it "is made even more immediate and meaningful by the fact that this year we will be remembering the fifth anniversary of his death, which occurred on Sept. 16, 2002, and the cause for his beatification is starting."

Nguyen Van Thuân was ordained a priest in 1953 and appointed bishop of Nha Trang in 1967.

In 1975, Pope Paul VI named him coadjutor archbishop of Saigon (today's Ho Chi Minh City).

After the defeat of South Vietnam, he was detained for 13 years in a Communist re-education camp. Nine of those years he spent in solitary confinement.

In 1988 he was liberated and forced into exile. Pope John Paul II welcomed him to Vatican City and entrusted him with responsibilities in the Roman Curia, naming him president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

In March 2000, Archbishop Van Thuân preached the spiritual exercises attended by John Paul II and the Roman Curia, sharing many of his spiritual experiences in prison. "The Testimony of Hope" was published as a collection of his meditations.

He was made cardinal in February 2001 and died the following year at the age of 74.