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Vatican reports progress in talks with Vietnam

Vatican officials have returned to Rome after a 6-day visit to Hanoi able to report good progress in talks with the government.

A statement released earlier this week said the delegation, headed by undersecretary of State Monsignor Piero Parolin, travelled to Vietnam as part of series of regular visits inaugurated in 1990 by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray. With no formal diplomatic ties at present, the Vatican is working towards a normalisation of relations with Vietnam.

The delegation also met with local Catholic leaders, and made visits to the dioceses of Xuan Loc and Ban Me Thuot. The fact that this delegation was able to make visits to regional centres indicated progress, as such visits were forbidden at the time of the previous meeting in 2002.

The most contentious point in negotiations between the Holy See and the Communist government of Vietnam remains the appointment of bishops. The government has demanded the right to approve new appointments, and has frequently rejected the Vatican nominees. As a result, the diocese of Thanh Hoa has been waiting for a bishop for two years, while the appointment of coadjutors to replace aging bishops is overdue in several dioceses, including Xuan Loc and Hue.

Vatican reports progress in talks with Vietnam (Catholic World News 4/5/04)

Vatican delegation in Hanoi to nominate a bishop and promote religious freedom ( 27/4/04)
Holy See delegation returns from Vietnam (Vatican Information Service 1/5/04)
Holy See Delegation Visits Vietnam (Zenit 3/5/04)
New Vatican delegation heading for Vietnam

6 May 2004