Vatican City, 11 September 2014 (VIS) – The Vietnam – Holy See Joint Working Group held its fifth meeting in Hanoi from 10 to 11 September, co-chaired by Bui Thanh Son, deputy minister for foreign affairs and head of the Vietnamese delegation, and Msgr. Antoine Camilleri of the Holy See Secretariat for Relations with States and head of the Holy See delegation.
According to a press release published at the end of the meeting, the Holy See delegation “appreciated the support given by the competent authorities at all levels to the Catholic Church in Vietnam for the accomplishment of her mission. It also took note of the development in the religious policies of Vietnam, reflected in the 2013 Amended Constitution. The Vietnamese State has facilitated working visits to Vietnam by the non-resident special envoy of the Holy See to Vietnam, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli. The Holy See delegation reaffirmed that it attached great importance to the development of relations with Vietnam in particular and Asia in general, as evidenced by the recent and upcoming papal trips to the continent. The Holy See reaffirmed its commitment towards the goal of establishing diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and, together with the Catholic Church in the country, wishes to make more active contributions to the country’s development where the Catholic Church is strong, for example in health care, education, charity and humanitarian works. The Vietnamese side reiterated the consistent policy of the State and Party in respecting freedom of religion and belief of all people and supporting the Catholic Church in Vietnam to actively participate in national social and economic development”.
“Both Parties emphasised again the underlying principles of 'living the Gospel within the Nation' and that 'being a good Catholic means being a good citizen'. The Holy See delegation stressed that Pope Francis had followed with interest recent developments in relations between Vietnam and the Holy See, and encouraged the Catholic Community in Vietnam to continue contributing towards the country’s major goals. Both Parties noted with satisfaction the positive developments in relations between Vietnam and the Holy See, as shown by increased exchanges and contacts at all levels, meetings of the Joint Working Group and working visits of the non-resident special envoy in Vietnam. They agreed on maintaining dialogue and contacts while creating favourable conditions for his mission, as he helps the Catholic Church in Vietnam to implement papal teaching”.
“The meeting took place in a sincere, candid and mutually respectful atmosphere. The Parties agreed to convene the 6th meeting of the Vietnam – Holy See Joint Working Group in the Vatican, at a date to be arranged through diplomatic channels”.
“On this occasion, the Holy See delegation paid a courtesy visit to the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs Pham Binh Minh, and met with the deputy minister of of the interior and Chairman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs Pham Dung. The delegation also took the opportunity to visit some Catholic institutions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City”.