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?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: