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    » 09/08/2014, 00.00


    Vatican and Vietnam meet again to improve bilateral relations and the life of Catholics

    Thanh Thuy

    The fifth meeting of the Joint Working Group will be held on 10 and 11 September in Hanoi. Full diplomatic relations and the issue of respect for religious freedom, which is severely restricted, will be discussed.

    Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - The goal of the fifth meeting of the Joint Vatican-Vietnam Working Group set for 10-11 September in Hanoi is to "deepen and develop bilateral relations between Vietnam and the Holy See," said Pham Thu Hang, deputy spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam. Similarly, Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Press Office of the Holy See, said the meeting would serve "to strengthen and develop bilateral relations between Vietnam and the Holy See."

    Led respectively by Bui Thanh Sơn, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mgr Anthony Camilleri, undersecretary for Relations with States, the two delegations are set to discuss full diplomatic relations, which were interrupted after Saigon's "liberation" in 1975, as well as the situation of Vietnamese Catholics.

    After a particularly hard period, a process of rapprochement culminated in 2011 in the appointment of Mgr Leopoldo Girelli as a non-resident pontifical representative in Vietnam.

    The question of respect for religious freedom, which has been severely limited for Catholics, remains unresolved. The former represent about 8 percent of Vietnam's population. On several times, the Holy See noted violations of religious freedom.

    In March this year, Pope Francis spoke about the situation of Catholics when he met with Nguyen Sinh Hung, speaker of the Vietnamese National Assembly.

    When he received Vietnam's bishops in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI noted that "a good Catholic is also a good citizen". At the same time, "the Church is contributing to the human and spiritual development of people, but also to the development of the country.

    For the pope emeritus, the Church's "intention is certainly not to replace government leaders," but only "to play a just role in the nation's life, at the service of the whole people, in a spirit of dialogue and respectful collaboration."

    During the sixth Asian Youth Day, Pope Francis said that Asian governments should not fear the Holy See because "Christians don't come as conquerors, they don't come to take away our identity: they bring us their own, but they want to walk with us". Indeed, "the Church is called to be versatile [. . .] through dialogue and openness to all" states.

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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.

    11/09/2014 VATICAN CITY - VIETNAM
    "Positive developments in Viet Nam-Holy See relations"
    The fifth meeting of the Working Group ends with a joint statement. In it, the Vatican "reaffirmed its commitment towards the goal of establishing diplomatic relations with Viet Nam," with the latter reiterating "the consistent policy of the State and Party in respecting freedom of religion and belief of all people".

    14/06/2013 VATICAN - VIETNAM
    Holy See seeks permanent nuncio in Hanoi, Vietnam wants Catholics "active" in government programmes
    The 4th round of the Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group ended today. Vatican statement does not mention the problems the Church faces in Vietnam. Hanoi expresses "respect" for religious freedom and "encouragement" of different religions that take part in "national construction".

    16/06/2008 VIETNAM – VATICAN
    Visit by Holy See delegation a success
    According to official Vietnamese news agency, the date for the start of a joint group will be set as soon as possible; its task is to examine the “process of developing bilateral relations”.

    13/06/2008 VIETNAM – VATICAN
    Working group to discuss diplomatic relations between Hanoi and Holy See
    According to official VNA news agency, a decision in that sense was taken during talks between the Vatican undersecretary for relations with states and Vietnam’s authorities.

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