Monday, March 05, 2007

Vietnam and the Church

Asia News:

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Vietnam’s state-run press reported the arrival in Hanoi of a delegation representing the Holy See to discuss religious freedom and the normalisation of diplomatic relations. Newspapers report that the Vatican delegation, led by Undersecretary of State for Relations with States Mgr Pietro Parolin, will work directly with the government and the local Church. It is scheduled to remain in the country until March 11.

“We hope that in the future the Church will have a Vatican representative,” Father Joseph, a priest in one of Ho Chi Minh City’s parishes, told AsiaNews. “Although Hanoi and Rome do not have diplomatic relations Vietnamese Catholics can carry out some religious activities since 1986 when the country opened its doors to economic development and integration into the international community. However, the government still intervenes in the appointment of bishops and sets limits to the number of priests per parish.”

Bolding is mine. Not much really needs to be said here. The Vietnamese and the Holy See are where the PRC and the Holy See could be in a few years. Time will tell.

The interesting thing is the priest's remark about 'religious activities'. I love euphemisms like that. Just what is he driving at with that? They can go to Mass unhindered? The sacraments? When mentioned in the context of economic development and international integration, 'religious activities' seems so common and trivial.

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