DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     September 15, 1999     vol. 10, no. 175


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

98.   Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung

        Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung was born in Binh-Hoa, Vietnam on June 15, 1919 and ordained a priest at the age of 30 on June 6, 1949. He had been weaned on the Faith by French missionaries in Southeast Asia before they vacated Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and the Vietnam War devastated so many and split the nation. Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung was a product of both the growth of the Faith and persecution of Catholics. On April 5, 1963 Pope John XXIII named him Bishop of Bac Ninh, but he wasn't consecrated until the Solemnity of the Assumption - August 15, 1963 - during the first few weeks of the new Pontiff's papacy Pope Paul VI.

        With the outbreak of aggression by the communists in Vietnam, Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung was placed under house arrest and could not venture from a confined area, preventing him from reaching or administering to his flock until 1986. Necessity is the mother of invention and so, to keep from going crazy and to do all he could as shepherd of the people, he began writing in poetic fashion the entire life of Jesus Christ as well as the Gospels and Catholic doctrine, and other aspects of the great Deposit of Faith to help the people understand and learn the Faith and slip it past the unaware communist guards. This he did for nearly thirty years

        On June 18, 1990 Pope John Paul II named him the Apostolic Administrator of Hanoi and four years later he was elevated to Archbishop of Hanoi on March 23, 1994. Later that same year he received the highest honor by being named to the Holy Father's Consistory of November 26, 1994. He was given the titular church of St. Mary Queen of Peace in Ostia mare and appointed curial membership in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum". Today the hope is there will be more tolerance from the communist government as well as allowing the Pope to visit but it's doubtful as intimidation continues and Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung continues as Hanoi's Archbishop in what used to be North Vietnam and the hotbed of the Vietcong. But he's adapted well to adversity, always making the best of whatever situation he is in and offering all suffering to Our Lord for His honor and glory.

September 15, 1999       volume 10, no. 175


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