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Rome Reports

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The story of Cardinal Van Thuan returns to bookstores as a novel

Weeks after the Jubilee of Mercy, one of the most remarkable stories of courage, forgiveness, and loyalty to God is in the spotlight once again. It is the life of Cardinal Franí§ois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.  With the onset of the communist regime in Vietnam, this bishop spent 13 years in prison, nine of them in total isolation. He was accused of conspiring with the Vatican against Vietnam. Teresa Gutiérrez de Cabiedes has just published a novel about the story of this martyr, revered by his capacity to remain faithful, even in the hardest of circumstances.  TERESA GUTIÉRREZ DE CABIEDES  Author, "Van Thuan, Free Behind Barsâ? "Firstly, he never gave up. Secondly, he was able to forgive the people that were punishing him unfairly, and thirdly, loving his enemy in such a way that it impels him to change his life. I think that this can only be explained by a supernatural love, a love that comes from God.â? Van Thuan wrote three books in prison. The first was "The Road of Hopeâ? which he was able to  write thanks to a seven-year-old boy that carried his texts out of prison to disseminate them.  His story is a detailed depiction of the life of a persecuted Christian that never questioned his faith in God.  TERESA GUTIÉRREZ DE CABIEDES Author, "Van Thuan, Free Behind Barsâ? "A few years ago I was speaking with the Archbishop of Pamplona (Spain) about freedom, and he told me the story of his friend Van Thuan. The story of Van Thuan helps us understand how God can set us free from our chains, and I said... His life is the stuff of novels, I need to tell his story!â? Van Thuan was freed on December 21, 1988. He was allowed to travel to Rome, but was banned from Vietnam. When he arrived in the Eternal City, John Paul II welcomed him and said: "Christ is our support when all else crumbles.â? TERESA GUTIÉRREZ DE CABIEDES Author, "Van Thuan, Free Behind Barsâ? "He was brilliant, he spoke many languages, he had a remarkable charisma, but what struck me the most was to see him stripped off of everything, and see him rely on God and how that transforms people radically.â? The book has been presented in several prisons. Its author has something very special in mind for the World Book Day. She wants to give it to inmates, so they can read a story to which they will be able to relate to.  AQ/AG RR FL - PR Up:AC