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Vietnamese archbishop denies pressure to resign

Catholic World News - May 14, 2010

Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, who this week resigned his post as head of the Hanoi archdiocese, has denied reports that the Vatican asked him to step down in order to ease tensions with the Vietnamese government.

The archbishop, whose health is frail, said that both the Vatican and the Vietnamese bishops' conference initially resisted his plan to resign. After much persuasion, the archbishop disclosed in a farewell letter, Pope Benedict finally "thoroughly understood my situation and with his paternal love accepted my request to retire."

Archbishop Kiet's explanation was clearly designed to scuttle reports that his resignation was forced by the Vietnamese government. Government officials had welcomed the appointment of a coadjutor archbishop, hinting that the move was made by the Holy See in response to demands from Vietnamese leaders.

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