Pope Francis

Pope Francis meets Vietnam political delegation, wants to visit the country

Reuters

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Pope Francis meets Vietnam political delegation, wants to visit the country

Pope Francis holds a weekly general audience, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican, January 17, 2024.

REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

The Vatican's foreign minister, says '... I think the Holy Father is keen to go and certainly the Catholic community in Vietnam is very happy to want the Holy Father to go. I think it (a papal trip) would send a very good message to the region'

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis met a delegation from Vietnam’s Communist Party on Thursday, January 18, and the Vatican’s foreign minister said the pontiff was keen to visit the Southeast Asian country in the wake of upgraded relations.

The meeting followed a private audience between the Pope and Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong in July, when both sides announced that Vietnam was allowing a Resident Papal Representative to return to Hanoi for the first time since the end of war in 1975.

The Vatican’s foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, told reporters that Thursday’s meeting with the 16-member delegation from the Communist Party was “very positive” and that he would be visiting Vietnam in April.

Asked about a possible papal trip to Vietnam, Gallagher said: “I think it will (take place) but there are a few further steps to be taken before that would be appropriate.”

“But I think the Holy Father is keen to go and certainly the Catholic community in Vietnam is very happy to want the Holy Father to go. I think it (a papal trip) would send a very good message to the region,” he said.

Look beyond profit to heal ‘lacerated world,’ Pope tells Davos leaders

Look beyond profit to heal ‘lacerated world,’ Pope tells Davos leaders

Vietnam broke off relations with the Vatican after the communists took over the reunited country at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. The authorities at the time viewed the Catholic Church in Vietnam as having been too close historically to the former colonial power, France.

Vietnam is home to nearly 7 million Catholics, about 6.6% of the population of 95 million.

Apart from the Vatican, Communist Party-ruled Vietnam has in the past two years upgraded ties with the world’s top powers, including former foes, China and the United States, as part of its “bamboo diplomacy”, which it has proactively pursued to navigate rising global tensions.

“Vietnam is an increasingly important country in the region. It is a little bit of an economic miracle in many ways,” Gallagher said, speaking on the sidelines of another event at the Vatican.

He said the Vatican was “confident” that relations with Vietnam would improve further, adding that Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin would likely visit Vietnam separately later this year.

Pope Francis says war is in itself a crime against humanity

Pope Francis says war is in itself a crime against humanity

“This (Thursday’s meeting) represents quite a renewal of their attitude to the international community, to the Church,” Gallagher said.

“We are, of course, hoping to encourage them along lines of greater religious freedom, which they have in their constitution and that they are practicing but it’s obviously a work in progress,” he said.

Vietnamese government media have rejected criticisms from groups such as the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a congressional watchdog that has placed Vietnam on its list of “countries of particular concern”. – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI
Download the Rappler App!