March 2, 2007


Vatican delegation going to Vietnam next week as Holy See seeks diplomatic ties (The Associated Press, March 1, 2007)

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.

But the Vatican said after the talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that there has been "concrete progress" for religious freedom for the Catholic Church in Vietnam.

Vietnam's 6 million Catholics are Southeast Asia's second-largest Catholic population after the Philippines.

Other positive signs for the church included the ordination in 2005 in Vietnam of dozens of priests in a ceremony led by a top Vatican cardinal.

The Vatican has indicated that official ties between the Holy See and Hanoi could lead to Catholic assistance in medical care and other social services for the Vietnamese people.

Vietnam recognises jailed poets (Bill Hayton, 2/28/07, BBC News)
The Vietnamese government has announced that it is to award a prestigious prize to four poets - 50 years after they were imprisoned and their works banned.

Hoang Cam, Le Dat, Phung Quan and Tran Dan were part of a movement which criticised life under communism but which was crushed in the late 1950s.

The four, two of whom are now dead, published their work in two magazines.

The awards seem to be part of a wider effort by Vietnam to reconcile difficult aspects of the past.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 2, 2007 12:30 PM
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