Promptly responding to the violence against Redemptorists by pro-government thugs on Thursday, bishops in Vietnam condemn the excessive use of violence by the government in handling land disputes with the Church.

"The Archdiocese of Hanoi decries the uncultured and unlawful actions of those who intruded into the courtyard of the Thai Ha church and monastery with words of such offensive, provocative, and violent nature as described above," wrote Fr. Alfonse Pham Hung, the archdiocesan Chancellor on behalf of Hanoi Archbishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon in a statement dated Nov. 4.

The letter was to response to a report filed by Fr. Nguyen Van Phuong, pastor of Thai Ha parish on the Nov 3 incident in which hundreds of police, militiamen, and thugs pushed their way into the courtyard of Thai Ha parish church, with loud speakers in their hands blaring curses at the religious and the priests. The thugs violently physically and verbally attacked priests, religious and parishioners while the police looked on. Only when parishioners acted in self-defence, those policemen jumped in to attack the parishioners -the victims- instead of protecting them.

Noting the recent spiteful campaign of state-run media to distort the legitimate rights of Thai Ha Parish and Redemptorists in demanding the requisition of their land, Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh of Kontum Diocese stated that priests and laypeople of Thai Ha have their rights and duties to protect Church properties.

"The authorities have been 'borrowing' countless properties from us, namely Yao Phu Cuenot School, Hieu Dao Church, Minh Duc School for 'work'. Should these premises be misused, we too must speak out" wrote the prelate in his statement to priests, religious, and faithful of his diocese in order to set the record straight on the false allegations made by state-run media outlets.

In the Nov 3 incident what's troubling the religious communities and the public at large was a report from those who had witnessed the trouble makers who terrorized Thai Ha community coming to Thai Ha directly from the office of the local People's Committee and later returned to the same office after their mission had been accomplished, as laid out in the protest letter sent to the People Committees of the local district and the city of Hanoi by Thai Ha parish and Redemptorist monastery.

Despite mass public protests by Vietnamese Catholics and expressions of concern from around the world, the Vietnamese government has resorted to violence in handling disputes with religions. Catholic leaders have repeatedly stated that they have been dismayed seeing the destruction of sacred symbols of faith and brutally physical and verbally attacks against faithful of religions by police, militiamen, and hired gangs. These are two major ingredients forming the common policy of the government in handling disputes with religions that have been employed at Hanoi nunciature, Thai Ha (in the archdiocese of Hanoi), Tam Toa, Bau Sen (diocese of Vinh), Loan Ly (archdiocese of Hue), and Con Dau (diocese of Da Nang).