Loading
Vietnamese communist leader meets Pope for first time

.- Pope Benedict received in audience today the secretary general of Vietnam's Communist Party, discussing issues of interest to the Vatican city-state and Vietnam.

The pontiff spoke with Nguyên Phú Trong on Jan. 22, who then met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

The Church leaders addressed with Trong their hopes of strengthening the existing fruitful cooperation between the two states.

Trong's audience with the Pope was unusual in that he is a political leader and not a head of state, with whom Pope Benedict would usually meet.

His visit with Pope Benedict is part of a wider European tour he is conducting with another nine members of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Trong met with Italian authorities on Jan. 21 and will end his European trip with a visit to London on Jan. 24.

A Vietnamese delegation from the office in charge of religious affairs visited the Vatican just two months ago.

The Holy See has not had full diplomatic ties with Vietnam since 1975, though in 2011 Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, apostolic nuncio to Singapore, was appointed the Vatican's “Official” to Vietnam.

“Most Vietnamese will say, 'Well, this is just another meeting,' but it’s the first time a secretary general, the most powerful member of the Communist Party, visits the Pope,” Father Cuong Pham, a priest of Vietnamese descent, told CNA Jan. 22.

“I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt that there is a sincere desire to improve relations and engage the Church with the Holy See,” he added.

But Fr. Pham, who works in Rome, said the situation for Catholics there remains difficult.

“The situation has worsened because there is a big faction among members of the government that is hostile to religion as a whole and they feel like the Catholic Church is becoming too prominent,” Fr. Pham noted.

“By limiting the Church’s role, they want to show that the government is in charge because they don’t think that any religious group should have that type of influence,” he added.

And according to Fr. Pham, there are more tensions on a local level than on a government level.

“In several areas of the country there have been cases of abuse on high levels, which even violate Vietnamese law and the constitution,” said the priest.

He also observed that meeting with the Pope could perhaps change public opinion about Vietnam's human rights abuses.

“It makes the Vietnamese government look good and also that they are solicitous towards the Church and respecting freedom of religion, although that’s only on the surface and we don’t know if it will translate into action,” he said.

“The average Vietnamese would hope that the Holy Father has used the opportunity to speak for them, who are voiceless.”

Vietnamese Catholics, who constitute some seven percent of the nation's population, often face persecution from the atheist government.

Tags: Church in Vietnam


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
28

Liturgical Calendar

August 28, 2014

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 24:42-51

Gospel
Date
08/28/14
08/27/14
08/26/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Cor 1: 1-9
Gospel:: Mt 24: 42-51

Saint of the Day

St. Augustine »

Saint
Date
08/28/14
08/27/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 24:42-51

Homily
Date
08/28/14
08/27/14
08/26/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: