Vietnam – Vatican relations entering a new era

18/01/2015


Holy See (Vatican) –Vietnam relations are foreign relations between the Holy See and Vietnam. Diplomatic relations have never been established between the two entities.
Before the independence of Vietnam there already existed, since 1925, an Apostolic Delegation (a non-diplomatic mission accredited to the Catholic Church in the area) for Indochina, based in Hanoi. After the expulsion of its staff by the North Vietnamese authorities, the headquarters of the Apostolic Delegation was moved to Saigon in 1957. In 1964, responsibility for relations with the Church in Laos was transferred to the Apostolic Delegation in Bangkok and the Saigon-based mission was renamed Apostolic Delegation for Vietnam and Cambodia.
Cambodia and the Holy See established diplomatic relations in 1994 and the name of the Apostolic Delegation was again changed, this time to Apostolic Delegation for Vietnam. Meanwhile, with the end of the Vietnam War, the Apostolic Delegate was forced to leave. Since an apostolic delegation, unlike an embassy, is not a bilateral institution with involvement by the State, the Apostolic Delegation for Vietnam has not been suppressed, but has remained inactive since 1975.
Marxism and communism officially promoted atheism, causing Roman Catholics and other Christians to be associated with the anti-communist South Vietnam region. This has strained relations between the Holy See and the Hanoi Government.
Since 1990 a dialogue between Vietnam and the Vatican has broadened mutual understanding, which is the foundation for both sides to reach common views and foster bilateral relations for common and individual interest.
Vietnam highly appreciates its growing relations with the Vatican, National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung said at a meeting with Pope Francis I in the Holy See in March 2014. Vietnam will continue to be a friend, a trustworthy partner and a responsible member of the international community, Hung told the cardinal.
At the same time, Vietnam is ready to boost ties with the Holy See on the principle of respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, Hung added.
In October 2014, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met Pope Francis in Rome with both saying they were committed to restoring diplomatic relations. The meeting marked “an important step in the process of reinforcing relations between the Holy See and Vietnam,” the Vatican said in a statement after the meeting.
The Vatican said it welcomed the support of the Vietnamese authorities for the Catholic community, which makes up about 7 percent of the country’s population of 89 million. The Vatican had earlier hailed “positive developments” from talks between the two sides held in Hanoi on Sept. 10 and 11.
Papal nuncio in Singapore Leopoldo Girelli has been the Vatican’s “non-resident pontifical representative” to Hanoi since 2011. That was the first time that the Holy See has been able to have a representative in the country since 1975, and it was seen as a historic step on the road to the normalization of relations between the two sides, with both sides agreeing that the establishment of full diplomatic relations was the final goal.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said his meeting with Pope Francis “will present an opportunity for both sides to enhance mutual understanding, thus strengthening the relationship between Viet Nam and the Holy See.”
The meeting, he said in an exclusive interview, “manifests the great importance Vietnam is attaching to our relations with the Holy See and our consistent policy to respect and ensure the legitimate freedom to religion and belief, (and to) encourage Vietnam’s Catholic Church to engage itself actively in the cause of socio-economic development and national building process.”
In actual fact, Prime Minister Tan Dung was the first top level Vietnamese leader to meet the pope since Vietnam broke diplomatic relations with the Holy See on April 30, 1975, after the Communists came to power in the whole country. He visited Benedict XVI in January 2007 when he was Prime Minister, and two years later, in December 2009, the President of Vietnam, Nguyen Minh Triet, also visited the Pope. 
Catholicism, with more than 6 million members, is the second largest religion (after Buddhism) in this southeast Asian country of some 90 million people. The Catholic Church enjoys religious freedom in Vietnam, notwithstanding tensions in some places over property and some other problems.
The Holy See and Vietnam have found a mutually acceptable way regarding the nomination of bishops that works well, and believes that with patience and good will the other problems can be resolved also to the mutual satisfaction of both sides.
Today, the church in Vietnam has 27 dioceses, a number of seminaries, and more than 10,000 places of worship, and also does charitable work by assisting internal migrants who find themselves in difficult situations, and helping AIDS victims.
The Vietnamese authorities confirmed their policy of respect for freedom of religion and belief and support for the Catholic Church in Viet Nam to actively participate in national social – economic development./.
Chia sẻ bài viết ^^
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All comments [ 10 ]


Hùng Quân 18/1/15 22:38

I totally support this relationship, I think Vietnam should establish diplomatic relations with Vatican, the most sacred holyland in the world.

Vân Nhàn 18/1/15 22:39

Marxism and communism officially promoted atheism. This has strained relations between the Holy See and the Hanoi Government.

Hoàng Lân 18/1/15 22:41

Take the Pope's hands and be blessed!

Huy Quốc 18/1/15 22:42

Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng and Pope Benedict XVI meeting is a "new and important step towards establishing diplomatic ties"

Quân Hoàng 18/1/15 22:44

The constitution preserves the communist party's dominant role, and keeps religious freedom under state control, though it also includes clauses that protect the right to practice or not to practice religion.

Lê Tín 18/1/15 22:45

The Holy See should make more active contributions to the country’s development where the Catholic Church has strengths, for example health care, education, charity, and humanitarian works.

Quốc Cường 18/1/15 22:47

In my opinion, it's not the right time to consider this issue.

Huy Lâm 18/1/15 22:48

the Vietnamese “reiterated the consistent policy of the state and party in respecting freedom of religion and belief of all people and supporting the Catholic Church in Vietnam to actively participate in national social economic development.

Quốc Kiên 18/1/15 22:49

Vietnamese authority really wish to normalize diplomatic relations.

Phạm Hiếu 18/1/15 22:51

I think religions and creeds as a spiritual need of the people that contribute to ensuring and promoting the national unity.

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