DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     November 5, 1998     vol. 9, no. 217

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          HANOI (CWNews.com) - The Communist government of Vietnam said on Wednesday that it had not received any request for a papal visit from the country's Catholic bishops, contrary to media reports last week.

          The Vatican news agency Fides had reported that the bishops' conference had asked the government to invite Pope John Paul II to visit the country next August for celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the Virgin Mary at La Vang. A Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters, "No functional agency of Vietnam has received such a request from the Vietnam Episcopal Council as reported by Fides."

          Fides had reported that the bishops had unanimously voted to make the request during their annual meeting from October 11-18. The Communist government strictly controls the practice of religion in the country, including monitoring the content of homilies, restricting pilgrimages, and controlling the appointment of clergy.

          The spokesman also disputed criticism by a UN envoy on religious affairs who said he had been prevented from meeting with some religious leaders during his visit to the country October 19-28. "I reaffirm [Abdelfattah] Amor enjoyed freedom of movement during his time in Vietnam and freedom to meet people he was interested in," the spokesman said.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

Nov 5, 1998       volume 9, no. 217


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