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Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Vatican City, 29 February 2012 (VIS) - The third meeting of the Viet Nam - Holy See Joint Working Group took place in Hanoi, Viet Nam, on 27 and 28 February. The meeting was co-chaired by Bui Thanh Son, vice minister for Foreign Affairs and head of the Vietnamese delegation, and by Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States and head of the Holy See delegation.

The meeting, which "took place in an atmosphere of cordiality, frankness and mutual respect" according to the final communique, served to examine international issues, to review progress in relations following the working group's second meeting in June 2010, and to discuss issues related to the Catholic Church in Viet Nam.

"The Vietnamese delegation", the English-language communique reads, "emphasised that the State of Viet Nam has always implemented and continually improved the policy to respect and ensure freedom of belief and religion for the people; encouraged the Catholic Church in Viet Nam to actively and effectively participate in the current course of national, economic and social development.

"From its part, the delegation of the Holy See took note of these considerations and expressed appreciation for the attention given by civil authorities to the activities of the Catholic Church. ... The Holy See expressed the wish that its role and mission be strengthened and extended in order to enhance the bonds between the Holy See and the Catholic Church in Viet Nam as well as the intention of Viet Nam and of the Holy See to develop their relationship".

The communique goes on: "Both sides recalled the teachings of His Holiness Pope Benedict's XVI, ... and his considerations concerning being a good Catholic and a good citizen, and stressed the need for continued cooperation between the Catholic Church and civil authorities in order to concretely and practically implement those teachings in all activities.

"The two sides came up with an assessment that the Viet Nam - Holy See relationship has attained positive developments on the basis of good will and constructive dialogue, as well as respect for principles in the relationship".

The next meeting will be held in the Vatican on a date to be arranged through diplomatic channels.

While in Viet Nam, the Holy See delegation paid courtesy calls to Pham Binh Minh, minister of Foreign Affairs, Nguyen Thanh Xuan, vice standing chairman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, and to a number of Catholic institutions.

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