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Details emerge about man accused of murdering priest in Vietnam


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Funérailles du frère Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh, 30 janvier 2022.

Aleteia - published on 02/07/22

Fr. Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh, O.P., was murdered while hearing confessions just before he was about to celebrate Holy Mass.

A bishop in Vietnam has released a letter that sheds light on the possible motives of the man accused of murdering a Dominican priest on January 29.

Nguyen Van Kien was charged with murdering Fr. Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh, while the Dominican priest was hearing confessions on January 29.  

Stabbed several times, Fr. Thanh was taken to the hospital but died of his wounds hours later.

“He was also paranoid about being bullied and prevented from getting married”

Bishop Aloisius Nguyen Hung Vi of the Kontum diocese, where Fr. Thanh served as a missionary priest, released an open letter to clear up “confusion” about Kien’s motives.  

“From the information obtained from his parents, Kien is not insane in the usual sense … he is lethargic and does not practice faith,” the bishop wrote, as reported by UCANews.

“Kien is from a Catholic family. His parents are kind and devout. He has two brothers and one sister, and his sister stays at a Church-run hostel,” he wrote.

The article in UCANews summarized the bishop’s letter:

“Kien could work on farms and repair motorbikes and other things. He would also sometimes get mad, mess around, loudly curse other people, smash television sets — even the altar in his house — and even beat his family members. He was also paranoid about being bullied and prevented from getting married, the bishop added.”

“We hope the confusion surrounding this painful event will soon be brought to light,’ the bishop wrote, in what UCANews said was a reference to rumors circulating the diocese about what motivated Kien to attack the priest.

Dominican community mourns brother

In a letter to his Dominican brothers and sisters around the world, Fr. Thomas Nguyen Truong Tam, O.P., the Prior Provincial of the Dominican Order in Vietnam professed his gratitude for the condolences and prayers the community had received after the priest’s tragic death.

“It was shocking and stunning to learn of the horrific death of our beloved Brother Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh, O.P., who selfishlessly gave his life to the Lord at his confessional last Saturday night. Even now, it is hard for me to tell you what we have gone through. We have just lost a very nice and holy brother and we did mourn and grieve over his passing away, ” he added.

“With the belief that ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’ (Tertullian), we hope fr. Joseph Thanh’s blood shall not frighten us but strengthen us instead to devote our life to preach the Word of God and to serve our brothers and sisters in our mission sites,” Fr. Thanh continued.

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