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    » 06/12/2013, 00.00

    VIETNAM - VATICAN

    Hanoi-Vatican talks starts as fourth meeting of Joint Working Group gets underway

    Nguyen Hung

    Starting today till Friday, a Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn will meet Under-Secretary for Relations with States Mgr Antonio Camilleri. In recent months, the Communist state has cracked down on human rights activists, Catholics included.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) - The fourth meeting of the Joint Vietnam-Holy See Working Group began this morning in Rome as part of ongoing talks between the Vatican and Hanoi to establish full diplomatic relations between the two sides. The Vietnamese delegation is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn, who will meet Under-Secretary for Relations with States Mgr Antonio Camilleri, who heads the Vatican team.

    The third meeting was held in February 2012, in Hanoi, where it was decided that the next conference would take place in the Vatican. Progress in bilateral relations is expected at this venue, even problems connected to religious freedom persist in the Asian country.

    In recent months in fact, Vietnamese authorities have cracked down on activists, including Catholics, fighting for the greater democratisation of the nation, respect for property rights against forced evictions (also of Church assets), and amendments to the Constitution.

    Precisely on the issue of constitutional reform, Communist leaders and the seven million-strong Catholic community led by the Bishops' Council are at loggerheads. The bishops have in fact come out in favour of changes to the nation's charter that would establish a multi-party democracy.

    A significant step was taken on 1 March of this year when the prelates sent the authorities a report with "sincere suggestions" on how the nation should evolve. And Catholics have rallied around their bishops to support their efforts because they are key to real change.

    As a Vietnamese Catholic journalist put it, the bishops' opinions are "precise and concise".

    Critics note however that the government wants closer relations with the Vatican to gain its support, and that of the international community, for its development goals.

    For some, the relationship between Hanoi and the Vatican could even become a model for relations between China and the Holy See. However, if religious freedom and human rights are not included, discussions on fundamental values and principles are impossible.

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    See also

    24/02/2012 VATICAN - VIETNAM
    Holy See-Vietnam Working Group to meet in late February
    The meeting will take place in Hanoi on 27-28 February. The non-residential pontifical representative has already met almost all of the country's bishops and their respective communities. Tensions remain over religious freedom, compounded by corruption in high places.

    26/10/2016 16:36:00 VATICAN - VIETNAM
    Religious freedom focus of meeting between the Holy See and Vietnam

    The Catholic Church "will continue to be inspired by the Magisterium of the Church regarding the practice of "living the gospel in the nation". "The meeting took place in an atmosphere of cordiality, frankness and mutual respect".



    02/12/2016 14:54:00 VIETNAM – VATICAN
    For Vietnamese bishop, no progress in religious freedom can be expected from Hanoi

    Mgr Micae Hoàng Đức Oanh is critical of the recent Vatican meeting between the pope and Vietnam’s president. Official talks have been held in the past without positive results for religious freedom. The new religious law could worsen the situation. Hanoi is caught between communism and red capitalism.



    27/06/2016 16:03:00 VIETNAM – VATICAN
    "I met the true faith" of Vietnamese Christians, Mgr Girelli said

    Since January 2011, the non-resident papal representative has visited each of Vietnam’s 26 dioceses at least twice. The prelate highlighted the work of bishops, priests, religious and laity. He met with Communist authorities and paid attention to the poor and marginalised. He stressed the importance of seminars in the training of future priests.



    13/11/2012 VIETNAM - VATICAN - CHINA
    Vietnam-Holy See relations, a model for China-Vatican talks
    The establishment of a joint working group and the appointment of a (non-resident) representative opened up diplomatic channels. They could serve as an example to Beijing, which has so far failed to heed Chinese Catholics' pleas. Last week, Vietnamese and Vatican officials met.



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