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Vietnam, Vatican take step toward diplomatic ties

Catholic World News - June 28, 2010

The Vatican has announced a significant step forward in relations with Vietnam: a plan to name a “non-resident representative” of the Holy See to the Vietnamese government.

The announcement came on June 26 at the conclusion of talks in Rome between Vatican and Vietnamese diplomatic representatives. The talks were the second formal session, after years of informal talks aimed to revive diplomatic ties.

A statement issued at the conclusion of the talks indicated that the Vietnamese representatives had claimed a “consistent policy of respect for freedom of religion and belief as well as the legal provisions to guarantee its implementation.” Vatican representative pressed for further assurances that the Church could work freely in the Asian country.

The agreement was welcomed by Vietnamese Catholics, but their reaction was tinged with concern that the Vietnamese government’s direct conduit to Rome might have the effect of weakening the local bishops. The Vietnamese Catholic hierarchy has often clashed with the government on issues involving the freedom to worship and the control of properties owned by the Church but seized by the Communist regime.

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