Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Vatican needs a permanent nuncio in Vietnam and Hanoi appears willing to meet that need. However, in exchange, it expects Catholics to take "active part in the national construction and socio-economic development process," said a statement issued after the 4th round of the Joint Working Group between the Holy See and Vietnam. The meeting took in Rome yesterday and today, co-chaired by Under-Secretary for Relations with States Mgr Antoine Camilleri and Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son.
In an atmosphere "of cordial sincerity, openness and mutual respect," the statement said, "The two sides informed each other about their respective situation, and reviewed and discussed Viet Nam - Holy See relations and other issues related to the Viet Nam Catholic Church.
"The Vietnamese side stressed the consistent implementation and continuous improvements in policies by the Party and State of Viet Nam related to the respect and assurance of freedom of religion and religious beliefs, as well as continued encouragement of different religions, and the Viet Nam Catholic Church in particular, in taking active part in the national construction and socio-economic development process. The Holy See side expressed appreciation and gratitude for the attention given by various levels of Government to the activities of the Viet Nam Catholic Church, particularly the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences held in Xuan Loc and Ho Chi Minh City in December 2012, as well as the pastoral visits of the non-resident Papal Representative, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli. The Holy See stressed the desire to develop further Viet Nam - Holy See relations and underlined the need to have as soon as possible a Papal Representative resident in the country, for the benefit of all concerned."
Nothing was officially said about the difficulties the Church faces in Vietnam or the actual lack of respect by the authorities for religious freedom.
"The two sides," the statement noted, "acknowledged the Church's preaching regarding 'living the Gospel within the nation' and that 'being a good Catholic is also a good citizen'. The Holy See confirmed the will of the Catholic Church to contribute, in the manner specific to it, to the common good of society, and to transmit and implement the constant teachings of the Popes on this matter."
Both parties "believe that Viet Nam-Holy See relations have progressed in a spirit of goodwill, constructive exchange and respect for principles in the relationship. In this spirit, and in view of the commitment to develop further mutual relations, the work of the non-resident Papal Representative will be facilitated in order to allow him to carry out his mission even more fruitfully."
"The Meeting took place in an atmosphere of cordial sincerity, openness, and mutual respect. The two sides agreed to meet for the 5th Round of the Joint Working Group between Viet Nam and the Holy See in Ha Noi. The time of the meeting will be arranged through diplomatic channels."
"On this occasion, the Viet Nam delegation also paid a courtesy call on the Secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States, His Excellency Mgr. Dominique Mamberti." (FP)