.- A Holy See delegation led by Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under-secretary for Relations with States, today returned to Rome after a week-long visit to Vietnam. According to a report released by the Vatican Information Service today, concrete steps have been taken on the way to normalizing Vietnamese-Vatican diplomatic relations. Msgr. Parolin said he of the most import parts of the trip was the delegation’s visit with local Catholics.
During the visit, the members of the delegation met with Bishop Paul Nguyen Van Hoa of Nha Trang, president of the Episcopal Conference of Vietnam, and with the Vietnamese government's permanent committee for religious affairs which highlighted the role of the Catholic community in the country.
For its part, the Holy See delegation expressed the hope that Catholics may be able to make an ever greater contribution to the dissemination of moral values, especially as regards the formation of young people. And both sides, according to a communiqué made public today, "highlighted the fact that outstanding problems can be faced and duly resolved in mutual agreement, through patient and constructive dialogue."
The delegation also met various government figures with whom it raised the question of the normalization of relations with the Holy See. The Vietnamese authorities gave assurances that, following the prime minister's instructions, "the competent bodies are already at work, and certain concrete ways to begin the process of establishing diplomatic relations have been examined."
Of particular importance was the visit to the Diocese of Kontum, in the country's central highlands, mostly made up of ethnic minorities, the so- called "montagnards" who participated in the various ceremonies in large numbers.
"To everyone," the communiqué reads, "the delegation brought the encouragement and blessings of the Holy Father, towards whom the faithful showed signs of profound affection, filial devotion and faithfulness, in the hope that Pope himself will one day be able to make a pastoral visit to that country."