Print Version    Email to Friend
Vatican makes a few yards with Hanoi

VATICAN (AsiaNews): The Vatican has long been saying that it wants to have a permanent nuncio stationed in Vietnam and on June 17 the government in Hanoi appears to have expressed a willingness to accommodate its request.

However, there are strings attached, as it says it anticipates that Catholics will take an “active part in the national construction and socio-economic development process,” in a statement issued after the fourth round of the Joint Working Group between the Holy See and Vietnam, reads.

Representatives of the Hanoi government and the Vatican met in Rome at a gathering co-chaired by the under-secretary for Relations with States, Bishop Antoine Camilleri, and Deputy Foreign Minister of Vietnam, Bui Thanh Son.

In an atmosphere described as “cordial sincerity, openness and mutual respect,” the statement says, “The two sides informed each other about their respective situation and reviewed and discussed Vietnam-Holy See relations and other issues related to the Vietnam Catholic Church.”

It continues, “The Vietnamese side stressed the consistent implementation and continuous improvements in policies by the party and state of Vietnam related to the respect and assurance of freedom of religion and religious beliefs, as well as continued encouragement of different religions, and the Vietnam Catholic Church in particular, in taking an active part in the national construction and socio-economic development process.”

The Vatican team expressed its appreciation and gratitude for the attention given by various levels of government to the activities of the Church in the country, particularly the 10th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences held in Xuan Loc and Ho Chi Minh City in December 2012.

It also mentioned the pastoral visits to the country of the non-resident papal representative, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli.

The Vatican team stressed its desire to develop Vietnam-Holy See relations and underlined the need to have a papal representative residing in the country as soon as possible, for what it described as the benefit of all concerned.

Nothing was officially said about the difficulties that the Church is currently facing in Vietnam or the actual lack of respect displayed regularly by government authorities for religious freedom.

“The two sides,” the statement asserts, “acknowledged the Church’s preaching regarding ‘living the gospel within the nation’ and that ‘being a good Catholic is also being 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 say that they believe that relations between the two parties have progressed in a spirit of goodwill, constructive exchange and respect for principles of 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,” it says.

The two sides agreed to meet for the fifth round of the Joint Working Group and arrangements will be made through diplomatic channels.


“On this occasion, the Vietnam delegation also paid a courtesy call on the secretary for the Holy See Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

More from this section