Vatican Delegation Going to Vietnam

March 1, 2007

Source: The Detroit News

Wire Service: AP

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- A Vatican delegation will meet with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi next week as the Holy See strives for diplomatic relations with the Communist-run country, Vatican officials said Thursday. Monsignor Pietro Parolin, an undersecretary of state, will lead the delegation, which departs Sunday.

The visit is part of periodic talks between both sides, but this appointment follows by a few weeks a meeting at the Vatican between Pope Benedict XVI and Vietnam's prime minister.

The Jan. 25 audience at the Vatican was the highest-level meeting between both sides and was hailed by the Holy See as an important step toward establishing diplomatic relations.

For decades there have been tensions between the Vietnamese government and the Roman Catholic Church, particularly over Hanoi's insistence on having the final say in most church appointments.