Father Nguyen Chi Linh, 54, has been until now a professor at the major seminary of Nha Trang, the Vatican press office reported Saturday.
Because of Vietnam’s political situation, he had to leave the seminary in 1977, live with his family, “and work hard for 14 years, while at the same time carrying out apostolic practices” in a parish, states the biography issued by the Vatican.
Ordained a priest in 1992 in the Diocese of Nha Trang, he was a parish priest for three years before beginning his studies toward a doctorate in philosophy at the Catholic Institute of Paris, from where he returned last November.
In late April a Holy See delegation traveled to Vietnam to address key issues of state-Church relations with government delegates. One of the issues was the appointment of a new bishop for Thanh Hoa, a see that has been vacant since June 2003.
The Vietnamese government does not allow the direct appointment of bishops. It insists that the Holy See present a list of candidates from which the government can choose.