A Catholic bishop in Vietnam urged the faithful “to live a witness of love and forgiveness” following the killing of a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Kon Tum in the country’s central highlands region.
“May the mysteries surrounding this tragic event soon be clarified,” said Bishop Aloisio Nguyen Hung Vi of Kon Tum during a visit to the village of Sa Loong where Dominican priest Joseph Tran Ngoc Thanh was killed.
“May hatred and violence be stopped so that love and unity can develop more intensely,” said Bishop Aloisio.
“In addition to sharing, consoling and supporting Father Thanh’s family and the Dominican Order, we are called to live a witness of love and forgiveness,” the bishop was quoted as saying by Agenzia Fides.
Father Thanh, 41, was killed in a knife attack at a mission in Dak Mot, about 40 miles northwest of Kon Tum in Vietnam on January 29.
He was said to be hearing confessions before the last Mass of the evening when the attack happened.
The bishop said that before dying, Father Thanh was able to forgive his killer.
“Father Thanh was a very young priest and was known as an educated, kind, and likeable man,” said the prelate.
“He was very precious in the work of formation of the laity and for the missionary ministry in the diocese of Kon Tum,” he told Agenzia Fides.
He described the death of the priest as “a great loss for the diocese, for the Dominican Order, and for his loved ones.”
“If at a civil level we follow the path of justice, with a look of faith we firmly reject all kinds of evil and we entrust everything to the mercy of God,” he said.
“We are called to love, to forgive, to put aside disagreements and hatreds, and to pray that every sinner will repent,” said the bishop.
Father Thanh was born on Aug. 10, 1981, in Ho Chi Minh City. He professed his religious vows with the Dominican order on Aug. 13, 2010.
He was ordained priest on Aug. 4, 2018, in Kon Tum, the capital of Kon Tum province.