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    » 02/27/2013, 00.00


    Benedict XVI's legacy: religious freedom and mission, from Vietnam to the Philippines

    The pope was a model and guide for a nation ruled by a Communist government. A priest from Hue notes that Vietnam and the Holy See engaged in talks under Pope Benedict XVI. From predominantly Catholic Philippines comes a call to proclaim the Gospel.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The Church in Vietnam needs witnesses of life and faith." Benedict XVI has been a "model and guide" in a nation ruled by a "Communist government that still restricts religious freedom," said Fr Joseph, a Vietnamese priest waiting in St Peter's Square to see his "beloved pope" who steps down from the Pontifical Seat tomorrow. Fr Reinaldo, a Filipino missionary, is also in the crowd. For him, the mission is every Catholic's responsibility, especially in Asia's only predominantly Christian nation, now close to Card Antonio Tagle, the archbishop of Manila and a possible successor to Benedict XVI.

    "The Church in Vietnam needs a very strong faith," said Fr Joseph, from Hue (central Vietnam), because "we are still under a Communist government that restricts religious freedom." For him, Benedict XVI "represents faith in God" and "helps us become a model and witness to the world".

    "In our society, faith is not deeply rooted and developed," the priest noted. "For this reason, it is important to promote it and proclaim it."

    The pope, he explained, has gone a long way towards re-establishing diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Vietnam, but a lot remains to be done. "We look forward to the future, full of hope, and put ourselves in God's hands."

    In concluding, "The Church in Vietnam needs to bear witness to life and faith," he said. "We need to be more Catholic."

    Fr Reinaldo Bullas Jr, a Monfort missionary from the Philippines, is another witness. He is "sad but also happy for the pope and his decision. His pain and health problems prevented him from going on. For this reason, he took the great step." Benedict XVI's "constant call for unity" invites us "to deepen our love for the Church."

    In the Philippines, we must offer "a deeper faith," he added, "taking part in the work of evangelisation at home and abroad. The mission is a duty for every Christian." (DS)

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    See also

    22/06/2005 PHILIPPINES
    PIME superior in Manila: "Cardinal Sin: a man full of joy and resolve"

    18/02/2011 VATICAN - PHILIPPINES
    Pope: help young Filipinos to seek God and not the glamour of consumerism
    In his speech to the Filipino bishops, Benedict XVI stresses the need for youth ministry, the true challenge of a country facing not only the problems of development, but also the challenge of materialism and consumerism.

    Pope: support for "courageous steps" in Manila to promote peace and sustainable development
    Receiving the new ambassador of the Philippines, Pope Benedict XVI praised the initiatives that give support to dialogue and cultural exchange, especially in places affected by war, such as Mindanao. He expresses his spiritual closeness to the victims of Typhoon Ketsana. Combating poverty requires honesty, integrity, especially by those directly involved in the tasks of government and public administration.

    27/10/2008 VATICAN - PHILIPPINES
    Pope: governments must work for proper integration of immigrants
    Benedict XVI speaks to the new diplomatic representative of the Philippines about the distinction between Church and state as an "achievement" of Christianity, and of attention to the needs of those seeking work far from their homeland.

    01/12/2006 VATICAN – PHILIPPINES
    A "saddened" Pope prays for victims of typhoon Durian
    Benedict XVI sends a telegram to Apostolic Nuncio Filoni expressing his sorrow. Death toll continues to rise reaching 350.

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