CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 12 January 2019

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Holy See-Vietnam confab 
satisfactory communiqué says

VATICAN (SE): “The Vietnam-Holy-See relationship has attained positive developments on the basis of good will and constructive dialogue, as well as respect for principles in the relationship,” a joint communiqué released at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group held in Hanoi on February 27 and 28.

Both parties informed each other of their respective situations at the table, with the Vatican delegation, led by Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, the undersecretary for relations with states, saying that the Holy See wants closer bonds and a deeper relationship with  the Church in Vietnam.

The Vatican delegation included the non-resident special envoy to Vietnam, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, and two Vietnamese officials from the Vatican Secretariat of State and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

The head of the Vietnamese delegation, vice minister for foreign affairs, Bui Thanh Son, stressed that his government has improved its policy of respect for the Church and has taken steps to ensure freedom of belief and religion for all people in the country.

He added that it has also encouraged the Church in the country to actively and effectively participate in the current course of national, economic and social development.

Monsignor Balestrero thanked the Vietnamese government for facilitating the visit of Archbishop Girelli during 2010, and Bui agreed to promote his diplomatic role in order to enable him to operate more effectively.

The meeting engaged in a reflection on the words of Pope Benedict XVI on being a good Catholic and a good citizen, and Monsignor Balestrero stressed that the practical implementation of these words requires the cooperation of the civil authorities with the Church.

The two-day meeting was described as cordial in the communiqué and both sides agreed that progress has been made since the second meeting of the working group took place in June 2010.

The Vatican delegation paid a courtesy call on the foreign minister, Pham Binh Minh, and the vice standing chairperson of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, Nguyen Thanh Xuan.

It also visited the National Pediatrics Hospital, which has a sister relationship with the Bambino Gesú Hospital run by the Holy See in Italy, as well as other Catholic institutions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

However, AsiaNews reports that not all is quiet on the home front. On February 23, Father Gonzaga Luy Nguyen Quang Hoa was beaten by three men described as thugs when returning from a funeral in Kon Hnong, the province of Kontum.

He was beaten across the head with iron bars and is in hospital recovering. The local bishop, Bishop Micae Hoang Duc Oanh, believes that the local authorities are now hiring hit men to do their dirty work and attack people who do not always agree with them.

A parishioner in Hai Phong reported that a member of his parish in Doan Van Vuong, was attacked by armed men, who destroyed his family house and confiscated their land.

These two cases were included in prayers offered across the country prior to the meeting of the joint working group, asking that “one day, our country and our people will be able to live without violence and injustice.”

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