18 February 2018

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02/16/2009 VIETNAM – VATICAN

Vatican delegation warmly greeted by Hanoi Catholics

Many faithful welcome the representatives of the Holy See. Their first meeting is in the Archbishopric, whose chief the government wants out. Plans include meetings at the Foreign Ministry to discuss diplomatic relations but also at the Central Committee on Religious Affairs.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – A Vatican delegation arrived in Hanoi yesterday afternoon and was warmly welcomed by local Catholics. Led by Mgr Pietro Parolin, undersecretary for Relations with States, the delegation includes Mgr Francis Cao Minh Dung, head of the Bureau of South East Asian Affairs at the Secretariat of State, and Mgr Barnabé Nguyên Van Phunong, bureau chief at the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. A guest of the Vietnamese government, the delegation officially starts a visit today that will last till next Saturday.

Upon their arrival the Vatican representatives (pictured) went to the Hanoi Archbishopric where they were warmly greeted by many faithful. There they also held their first meeting with Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, eventually ending their day with a Mass at St Joseph Cathedral, crowded with worshippers.

Vietnam’s government had announced the 16th visit by a Vatican delegation last Thursday. According to the statement released on that day by Vietnam’s official news agency VNA, the visit is an opportunity for “discussions” concerning “diplomatic relations” with the Holy See, Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung was quoted as saying.

In letter, released subsequently, the chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam (CBCV) Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon said that the Vatican delegation would meet officials from Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry as announced by Vietnamese authorities, but also officials from the Central Committee on Religious Affairs.

In the latter case the delicate issue of clashes between authorities and the Church over the past year is likely to be a topic of discussion. It concerns the seizure of Church-owned properties like the compound of the former apostolic delegation in Hanoi and land owned by the Thai Ha parish, also in the capital, as well as other issues like the Vinh Long convent.

Talks over such issues come in the wake of a directive issued by Vietnam’s prime minister earlier this year stating that none of the 2,250 properties seized from Vietnam’s Church will be returned to their owners.

Discussions will also take place against a background that includes the trial and conviction of some Catholics for protesting against the takeover of Church property as well as a request made by the authorities to Vietnam’s bishops that they replace Mgr Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet as archbishop of Hanoi, a request always rejected by the bishops.

Local sources suggest that Vietnamese leaders are likely to repeat such a demand when they meet the representatives of the Holy See.

During its visit the Vatican delegation is expected to meet the Executive Committee of the Bishops’ Conference as well as travel to the northern dioceses of Thai Binh and Bui Chu.

In his letter the CBCV chairman said that the Vatican delegation specifically asked Vietnamese Catholics for “intense prayers” as a token of their “love for the Church.”

In a veiled reference to the Vietnam Committee for Catholic Solidarity (VCCS), the letter also mentioned the need for Christian unity.

Since 1955 the government has in fact tried to use the VCCS to create a ‘patriotic Church’ faithful to the Communist Party and not the Pope

Although this attempt has had little success, it has not stopped the authorities from trying to re-launch the VCCS last November because of rising Church-State tensions.

See also

03/10/2008 VIETNAM
Now Hanoi trying to pit Buddhists against Catholics
Deputy public security minister tries to sow divisions among religious groups by raising an old claim about the land where the cathedral, seminary and ex- apostolic delegation now stand, claiming that it was once home to a pagoda. However, a government publication said that the pagoda was once located five kilometres to the north of the disputed land and that it was destroyed in the 1400s.

02/08/2005 VIETNAM
Catholic seminarians work for the first time in state-run leprosarium
The young men provided summer pastoral services in the Van Mon facility; patients and medical staff are grateful for the assistance offered by the future priests.

17/06/2008 VATICAN – VIETNAM
Diplomatic relations and Church property part of discussions the Holy See delegation held in Hanoi
After the return of the Vatican representatives the Holy See released a statement saying that discussions in Vietnam centred on Episcopal appointments, religious freedom and the contribution the Catholic community can make in spreading a culture of solidarity and in the moral education of future generations. A monstrance sent by Benedict XVI is gifted to the La Vang shrine.

22/09/2008 VIETNAM
Thugs attack Thai Ha Catholics as police look on
Goon squad goes into action under the indifferent eye of the police, ransacking, destroying an outdoor altar, and sullying a statue of Our Lady. Hanoi authorities have the archbishop’s residence surrounded, pledging to “severely punish” the archbishop, guilty among other things of trying to exercise his rights that are recognised under law.

23/09/2008 VIETNAM
Cardinal Pham Minh Man slams manipulation by state media
Prelate calls on the faithful to pray for an end to the violence and for renewed dialogue in favour of justice. He points out how the words of the capital’s archbishop have been deliberately distorted.

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