Statement at Conclusion of Vatican-Vietnam Meeting

«The Two Sides Noted Encouraging Developments»

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the statement released Saturday by the Vatican press office at the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the Vietnam-Holy See Join Working Group, held last Wednesday and Thursday at the Vatican.

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As agreed upon at the First of Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group in Hanoi in February 2009, the Second meeting of the Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group took place in the Vatican from 23-24 June 2010 co-chaired by Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, Under-Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, Head of the Holy See Delegation and Mr. Nguyen Quoc Cuong, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Head of the Vietnamese Delegation.

After reviewing the progress made since the first Joint Working Group meeting, the two sides discussed international issues and those related to bilateral relations and to the Catholic Church in Viet Nam. The Vietnamese side recalled its consistent policy of respect for freedoms of religion and belief as well as the legal provisions to guarantee its implementation. The Delegation of the Holy See took note of this explanation and asked that further conditions be established so that the Church may participate effectively in the development of the country, especially in the spiritual, educational, healthcare, social and charitable fields. The Delegation of the Holy See also mentioned that the Church in her teaching invites the faithful to be good citizens and therefore to work for the common good of the population.

The two sides noted encouraging developments in various areas of Catholic life in Vietnam, especially in relation to the Jubilee Year. Furthermore they recalled the address of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI during the last Ad Limina visit of the Vietnamese Bishops and the Holy Father’s Message to the Catholic Church in Vietnam on the occasion of the Jubilee Year, and agreed that these teachings of the Holy Father would serve as an orientation for the Catholic Church in Vietnam in the years ahead.

On bilateral relations the two sides appreciated the positive developments since the first meeting of the Joint Working Group, especially the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the Vietnamese State President Nguyen Minh Triet in December 2009. The two sides also had in-depth and comprehensive discussions on bilateral diplomatic relations. In order to deepen the relations between the Holy See and Vietnam, as well as the bonds between the Holy See and the local Catholic Church, it was agreed that, as a first step, a non-resident Representative of the Holy See for Vietnam will be appointed by the Pope.

The two sides decided to hold the third meeting of the Joint Working Group in Vietnam; the time of the meeting will be settled through diplomatic channels.

On the occasion of the meeting, the Vietnamese Delegation paid a courtesy call to H.E. Archbishop Mamberti, Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and to the Vicariate of the Diocese of Rome. The Delegation also visited the Pediatric Hospital Bambino Gesù of the Holy See in Rome.

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