Hanoi Reportedly Open to Firmer Ties With Holy See

HANOI, Vietnam, JAN. 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Vietnamese State Television announced Hanoi’s willingness to stabilize diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

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Government officials said that the implementation of this new approach is only «a question of time,» reported the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

The change was discussed in the course of the visit of the president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Pier Ferdinando Casini, who met with Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong and Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Sung.

According to the television report, Casini broached the idea of stabilization of diplomatic ties between Hanoi and the Vatican.

About 6 million of Vietnam’s 82 people are Catholic. About 50 million are Buddhists.

Currently, relations between the Vatican and Hanoi are regulated by an annual visit of Holy See representatives to Vietnam, who hold talks with government representatives. There is no apostolic nuncio in Hanoi, and no accredited Vietnamese diplomat in the Vatican.

The Vietnamese government does not allow the direct appointment of bishops. The Holy See must present a list of names, among which the government chooses the candidate considered opportune. Government authorities also decide who may enter a seminary and who may be ordained a priest.

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