Home Catholic Church & Asia Talks between Vietnam and Holy See expected to happen in Vatican

Talks between Vietnam and Holy See expected to happen in Vatican

Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong is expected to visit the Vatican in the coming days to sign an agreement that will allow the permanent representative of the Holy See in Hanoi. 

President Thuong’s visit to Austria, Italy, and the Vatican is scheduled for 23 to 28 July, during which he is also expected to meet with Pope Francis, according to Reuters citing high-level Vatican sources.

The establishment of a permanent Vatican representative in Vietnam has been a topic of ongoing discussions between the two States. 

Archbishop Marek Zalewski, who is apostolic nuncio to Singapore, serves as the Vatican’s representative in Vietnam and authorized to make visits to the country.

Last year, an agreement “in principle” was reached for the opening of a stable office in Hanoi, and now it appears likely to become a reality. 

This would mark a significant step forward, nearly 50 years after the expulsion of the apostolic delegate in Vietnam by the communist government in 1975, although it would not represent the re-establishment of full diplomatic relations.

The issue is also intertwined with the relations between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China. The Vatican has often considered Vietnam as a possible “pragmatic” model for advancing relations with Beijing. 

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In particular, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, publicly advocated for the opening of a stable liaison office of the Holy See in China to foster dialogue based on truth and mutual respect. 

This comes in the wake of Pope Francis’ decision to address the canonical irregularity created by Beijing by appointing Msgr. Joseph Shen Bin as bishop of Shanghai.

Chinese Catholic sites under strict Party control have not published any news regarding Pope Francis’ appointment of the Shanghai bishop. 

This highlights the sensitivity of the Chinese authorities toward the appointment of bishops, emphasizing the need for it to be perceived as an autonomous affair of Beijing, despite the existing Agreement with the Holy See. – with reports from AsiaNews

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