.- Three Vatican officials recently returned from a visit to Vietnam in which they met with government authorities and spoke to the Catholic community. The delegates dealt with various topics including the “appointment of bishops, the gradual restoration of formerly-nationalized property to Church use, the application of norms on religious freedom,” and several other issues of importance in the country.
According to a release from the Holy See Press Office, the delegation which was led by Msgr. Pietro Parolin under-secretary for Relations with States, discussed “the contribution of Catholics to human promotion, the spread of a culture of solidarity towards the weakest sectors of the population, and the moral education of future generations,” during their June 9 – 15 stay in Vietnam.
In one meeting, the Vatican delegation was received by Pham Gia Khiem, deputy-prime minister and minister for foreign affairs. The diplomats discussed “the current international situation with reference, above all, to the seat as a non- permanent member of the U.N. Security Council that Vietnam will occupy for the first time this July.”
The prelates also met with the president of the People’s Committee of Hanoi, and with the vice-presidents of the People’s Committees of the provinces of Lam Dong, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Tri. “With the former, mention was made, among other things, of the events that involved numerous faithful from the archdiocese at the end of last year and the beginning of 2008,” namely the peaceful protests of Catholics to seek the return of the former Apostolic Nunciature to the Catholic Church.
“In this context, consideration was given to the importance of continuing to pacify the situation, avoiding measures that may create contrary effects, and to maintain dialogue between interested parties in the search for adequate solutions that take into account the needs of justice, of charity and of the common good,” explains the release.
The statement also noted that, “The delegation expressed its gratitude to the local authorities of the province of Quang Tri for their decision to return the land around the Marian shrine of La Vang to Church use, and for their will to face, along with the archdiocese of Hue, the outstanding problems for the effective implementation of the decision."
The Vatican trio, along with 2,000 Catholics also attended Mass at the Marian shrine of La Vang. According to UCA News, after the Mass, one of the delegates “told local Catholics Pope Benedict XVI will send a message and his blessings to devotees at the Marian Congress in August.”