DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     March 5-7, 1999     vol. 10, no. 45

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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VIETNAM HINTS AT DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH HOLY SEE

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) - The government of Vietnam is prepared to discuss the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

          Vietnamese Foreign Minister Phan Thuy Thanh has told reporters in Singapore the question of diplomatic ties will be on the agenda for discussion when the Vietnamese government greets a delegation of Vatican officials, who will arrive in the Asian country on March 15.

          Cardinal Joseph Phan Dinh Tung of Hanoi reacted positively to the government statement, telling the Fides news service: "We are confident that this time it will happen."

          The Vatican delegation, headed by Msgr. Celestino Migliore, will be in Vietnam from March 15 through 19. Such visits have become common in recent years, but in the past the Vietnamese government has always avoided discussions of establishing normal diplomatic relations.

          The Catholic Church operates under serious restrictions in Vietnam; the government limits the number of students in the nation’s seminaries, and insists on the right to reject appointments of bishops and even pastors. The periodic visits by Vatican officials have usually been aimed at easing these restrictions.

          Cardinal Tung, however, indicated that a move toward formal diplomatic ties would be a breakthrough. "This is the news we have been waiting for," he told Fides. He disclosed that the Vietnamese bishops themselves have not had any official notice from the government about the prospect of diplomatic talks—or even an official announcement about the visiting Vatican delegation. However, he said, "The Vietnamese people are all in favor" of diplomatic ties.

          The Cardinal also suggested that a move toward full diplomatic relations would ease the way for a visit by Pope John Paul II. The Vietnamese bishops have invited the Pope to visit, and asked the government to issue a separate invitation. To date the government has made no reply.


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

March 5-7, 1999       volume 10, no. 45
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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