The Vatican appointment of a “non-resident representative” to Vietnam
has upset some local Church leaders while others welcomed the
“I’m really confused,” said Father Jean Baptiste Huynh Cong Minh,
Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City told Viet
Catholic, “because this morning when I met with the cardinal he seemed
to know nothing about the move either.”
“Personally, I have not any idea on the representative office of Holy
See to Vietnam, nor who will be in charge of such an office. I’m
completely unaware of that and all those with whom I have met did not
know either,” Father Huynh said.
“Our expectation is that since we live in Vietnam, any issue
pertinent to the Vietnamese cause, even when it only concerns the
government, we should be informed and involved,” he added.
Fr Huynh expressed his desire that “there would be means to allow
bishops in Vietnam to have a direct say with the Vatican” on issues
relating to the life of the Church in the country.
“I believe that,” he explained further, “those who have great
Church’s responsibilities in the Vatican, Pope, and Cardinals who head
departments of the Roman Curia, want the good things for the Universal
Church, and the Church in Vietnam... But how they know our situation? It
must be through mediators. We have seen enormous problems with these
The move follows the April appointment of Bishop Peter Nguyen Van
Nhon, chairman of the Conference of Bishops, to the post of coadjutor to
Archbishop of Hanoi, a move described by Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh,
vice President of the Vietnamese Episcopal conference, as “sudden and
He also observed that the appointment had inflamed disputes between
Meanwhile, other priests welcomed the move.
Vietnamese priests have welcomed a plan to appoint a non-resident
Holy See representative to their country, saying this would pave the way
for diplomatic relations.
“I hope the papal representative can serve as a bridge ... so that all
sides can engage in dialogue, respect one another and work for the
common good,” Father Joseph Nguyen Khac Que, a member of Ha Noi
archdiocese’s council of priests, told ucanews.com.
“The agreement is the first important step toward diplomatic ties
between the two sides,” said Father Que.
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