Friday, July 24, 2009

The President and the Government of Vietnam will visit the Vatican

» 07/24/2009 13:34

by Thanh Thuuny

The news is given by Cardinal Pham Minh Man and confirmed by the government. The hope of the Catholics is to meet with Benedict XVI on the occasion of the special jubilee anniversary, which starts in November this year and ends Epiphany of 2011. New pastoral impetus in wake of bishops ad limina visit.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Diplomatic relations and, perhaps, an invitation to Benedict XVI to visit Vietnam next year, where even John Paul II failed to make it. These are the hopes of Vietnamese Catholics spurred on by the news, given by Cardinal JB. Pham Minh Man and confirmed by the authorities, that in November a government delegation will visit the Vatican and the following month the President will meet the Pope.

The visit of the Vietnamese delegation has an important precedent; on 25 January 2007 Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (pictured) was received at the Vatican. At that time it seemed that many of the issues which divide the two parties could have been resolved and that and that there was the possibility of establishing normal diplomatic relations on the horizon. It was not to be and Vietnamese Catholics continue to experience difficult times.

Relations between Vietnam and the Vatican, were not interrupted however and regular visits to the nation by a Holy See delegation continued. Now the government says that "a delegation of the Government of Vietnam will visit the Vatican in November 2009to discuss some issues involving relations on both sides, and on December 2009 Vietnam’s President will meet and for an exchange of views with the Holy Father Benedict XVI for the relations in a near future. "

For Catholics in Vietnam, the bishops ad limina visit in June of this year was a particularly important event. On that occasion, the chairman of the Bishops Conference, Msgr. Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, had expressed the hope that the pope might one day visit the country and recalled that the Church will celebrate a special Vietnamese jubilee year from 24 November 2009, the Solemnity of the martyrs of the country, to the Epiphany of 2011. Clearly the hope of Catholics is to see the Pope at that time, while the Vatican has said that next year, Benedict XVI will undertake a journey to Asia.


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