Vietnam Backtracks on Visas for Vatican Officials

ROME, MARCH 27, 2012 ( After having previously issued visas for a Vatican delegation to visit Vietnam as part of the process for Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Văn Thuận’s canonization cause, the government has now revoked them, according to a report published Monday by Asia News. 

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The delegation was to be led by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and was due to visit Vietnam from March 23 to April 9.

Father Peter Nguyen Huu Giai, pastor of the An Bang parish of Hue diocese, said he believed the refusal of entry visas was the result of sensitivity by government officials over the beatification, according to a report published by UCANews on Monday.

Cardinal Văn Thuận was the bishop of Nha Trang Diocese from 1967, then he was appointed as coadjutor bishop on April 23, 1975, at age 47, to the Archdiocese of Saigon, just days before the city, now named Ho Chi Minh City, fell to North Vietnamese forces.

After a few months he was arrested and spent the next 13 years under arrest, without trial.

“I look forward with optimism about the cardinal’s beatification process because the Holy See has the right to beatify him [regardless of] the government,” said Father Giai.

The current archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, Cardinal Jean Baptiste Phạm Minh Mẫn has sent a letter to all the faithful of the diocese, asking them to «pray with devotion for the process of beatification.»

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