cardinal nguyen van thuan
Birth. April 17, 1928, parish of Phu Cam, Huê, Viêt Nam. Nephew of Ngo Dinh Diem, president of the former Republic of South Viêt Nam (1); and of Pierre Martin Ngô Ðình Thuc, archbishop of Hue. Numerous members of his family suffered martyrdom because of their faith. His name is also listed as Nguyễn Văn Thuận, Phanxicô Xaviê, in Vietnamese.
Education. When he was very young, he entered the Minor Seminary of An Ninh, Huê; later, he studied at the Major Seminary of Phu Xuan, Huê (philosophy and theology); after his ordination, he went to Rome [in 1956 to study] and obtained a doctorate in canon law in 1959.
Priesthood. Ordained, June 11, 1953, Huê. Pastoral work, 1953-1955. Further studies, Rome, 1955-1959. In the archdiocese of Huê, successively, 1959-1967, charged with the formation of priests; faculty member and rector of its seminary.
Episcopate. Elected bishop of Nha Trang, April 13, 1967. Consecrated, June 4, 1967, Hué, by Angelo Palmas, titular archbishop of Vibiana, apostolic delegate in Viêt Nam, assisted by Philippe Nguyen Kim Dien, of the Petit Frères de Jésus, titular archbishop of Pario, apostolic administrator, sede plena, of Hué, and by Jean-Baptiste Urrutia, M.E.P., titular archbishop of Carpato. Promoted to titular archbishop of Vadesi and appointed coadjutor of Thành-Phô Chi Minh, Hôchiminh Ville (Saigon), April 24, 1975. Jailed by the Communist government, 1975-1988, spent 9 years in isolation; was never tried or sentenced; freed November 21, 1988 and obligated to reside in the archbishop's house in Hânoi, impeded to return to his see, Hô-Chi-Minh-Ville (ex-Saigon). Declared persona non grata by the government of Viêt Nam during a visit to Rome in 1991, where he remained. Member of the International Catholic Commission for Immigration, Geneva, Switzerland, 1992. Resigned the coadjutorship, November 24, 1994. Vice-president of the Pontifical Council Iustitia et Pax, November 24, 1994; president, June 24, 1998. Attended the Special Assembly for Asia of the World Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, April 19 to May 14, 1998; by papal appointment. Attended the Special Assembly for Oceania of the World Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, November 22 to December 12, 1998. Attended the II Special Assembly for Europe of the World Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, October 1 to 23, 1999. Preached the Lent Spiritual Exercises for the pope and the Roman Curia, March 12 to 18, 2000.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of February 21, 2001; received the red biretta and the deaconry of S. Maria della Scala, February 21, 2001. Viêt Nam's Foreign Ministry eased restrictions and the cardinal would face only routine immigration procedures when entering the country and would be afforded all the privileges normally given to overseas citizens, February 27, 2001. Attended the X Ordinary Assembly of the World Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, September 30 to October 27, 2001. The pectoral cross that he wore until his death was one that he made with two small pieces of wood when he was in jail; he protected the cross hiding it in a piece of soap so that his jailers would not confiscate it; when he was freed, he covered the wooden cross with a coat of metal.
Death. September 16, 2002, of cancer, in a Roman clinic. Buried in the chapel of the canons of the chapter of St. Peter's Basilica, Campo Verano cemetery, Rome (2). On Friday, June 8, 2012, at 11:30 a.m., his remains were transported from Campo Verano cemetery to his deaconry, S. Maria della Scala (3). The ceremony, presided by Cardinal Peter Turkson Kodwo Appiah, president of the Pontifical Council Iustitia et Pax, was attended, among others, by Cardinals Roger Etchegaray, Renato Raffaele Martino, Jorge María Mejía and Bernard Francis Law. The sister of the late cardinal was also present for the ceremony as was the Vietnamese community in Rome and Matteo Maria Zuppi, titular bishop of Villa Nova and auxiliary of Rome. Mario Toso, S.D.B., titular bishop of Bisarcio and secretary of the Pontifical Council Iustitia et Pax, addressed those present.
Beatification. The cause of his beatification was introduced on September 16, 2007. Silvia Monica Correale was named postulator of the cause of beatification. Five years after death is the shortest period of time allowed to initiate the process of beatification. On October 22, 2010, a solemn ceremony marked the opening of the diocesan study of his life, virtues, and fame of holiness. The ceremony took place at noon in Sala della Conciliazione of the Lateran Palace, Rome. Cardinals Agostino Vallini, vicar of His Holiness for Rome, and Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council Iustitia et Pax, addressed those present. At 8:30 a.m. on the same day, Cardinal Turkson celebrated a mass for the Servant of God in the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which was Cardinal Nguyên Van Thuân's diaconal church. Dr. Waldery Hilgeman is the new postulator of the cardinal's cause. The diocesan process has been completed and was officially closed on July 5, 2013. On May 4, 2017, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints to publish the decree concerning his heroic virtues.
(Source: The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church)