DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     November 11, 1998     vol. 9, no. 221

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Archbishop Etienne Nguyen Nhu The of Hue reports the Pope John Paul II is delighted with the invitation he has received from the bishops of Vietnam. Such a visit has been mentioned as furnishing an occasion for the promulgation of a post-synodal exhortation concluding the work of the Synod on Asia.

          According to the Vatican news agency Fides, Archbishop Nhu The met privately with the Holy Father on November 6, and-- as representative of the Vietnamese bishop-- formally invited the Pontiff to visit Vietnam for the conclusions of ceremonies marking the bicentennial of the Marian sanctuary in La Vang. Fides reported that the Pope replied that he would like to come "if it is possible."

          The greatest obstacle to such a trip is the absence of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the Holy See. However, sources in the Vatican Secretariat of State suggested that there could be reasons for optimism, and that the Vietnamese government might be open to a papal visit as a step toward mutual diplomatic recognition. Archbishop Nhu The added his opinion that the government could draw profit from such a visit, since "if the Pope comes, all the world will look upon Vietnam sympathetically.... it could be a sign of openness to the international community."

          From Vietnam, Bishop Barthelemy Son Lam of Than Hoa told Fides that an official request for approval of a papal visit would be presented to the government tomorrow by Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung. He added that the government had been kept abreast of the bishops' plans to issue such an invitation.

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 11, 1998       volume 9, no. 221


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