Benedict visit on cards for Vietnam
Vietnam and the Holy See are moving towards establishing diplomatic relations after a Vatican delegation visit this week and an announcement from Rome which has raised hope for a papal visit to the communist country.
The International Herald Tribune reports that in an upbeat report, the Vatican said the newly returned delegation discussed such issues as the nomination of bishops and emphasised that any problems can be overcome through "mutual consensus" and "patient and constructive dialogue". It also said Vietnamese Catholics are hoping for a visit by Pope Benedict XVI.
According to a Vatican statement the Vietnamese government gave assurances that officials are already at work on normalising relations and that both sides examined concrete ways to get the process of establishing diplomatic ties moving.
Officials in Hanoi had earlier reported that the two sides had proposed the formation of a working group on bilateral relations.
However, before such a group could be established, the Vatican would have to approve it, said Dang Tai Tinh, a member of Vietnam's Committee on Religious Affairs, according to an Associated Press report.
The Vatican delegation, led by Msgr Pietro Parolin, met with government and church officials in Hanoi and four provinces, including highland provinces of Gia Lai and Kon Tum, before returning to Rome.
It was the 15th time Vatican representatives have made an annual visit to Vietnam, but this year's meetings drew heightened attention because of the prospect the two sides might establish diplomatic relations.
According to the Vietnamese officially approved paper Thanh Nien, the Vietnamese government welcomed all initiatives that aimed at boosting the relationship between Vietnam and the Vatican for the sake of peace, stability, and development.
The Vatican officials positively acknowledged Vietnam's proposals, the paper says.
Talking with the Vietnam News Agency on Sunday, Msgr Parolin said he was impressed with religious activities in Vietnam.
"We witnessed great faith everywhere. We witnessed young parishioners in livable parishes desiring to contribute to the nation's material and spiritual development," the Vatican dignitary said, adding he was also impressed with the ceremonies he attended.
"All ceremonies that we attended were crowded with followers and other people. Everyone sang hymns and prayed to show their belief in God," the Vatican official said.
Vatican says Vietnamese Catholics are hoping for a visit by the pope (International Herald Tribune, 12/3/07)
Positive outcome to Vatican delegation's visit to Vietnam (AsiaNews, 12/3/07)
Vatican dignitaries conclude Vietnam visit (Thanh Nien News, 12/3/07)
Vatican delegation ends visit to Vietnam (Pravda, 12/3/07)/A>
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Vietnamese Government website
Vatican delegation building "diplomatic bridge" (CathNews, 7/3/07)
Vietnamese democracy priests arrested (CathNews, 21/2/07)
Vietnam Catholics upbeat over PM meeting with Benedict (CathNews, 31/1/07)
Vietnam PM in first Vatican visit (CathNew, 24/1/07)
Cardinals meet in Vietnam "turning point" (CathNews, 6/12/06)
Mother Teresa's order invited to Vietnam (CathNews, 15/11/06)
13 Mar 2007