Pope's diplomatic representative visits Vietnam

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Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, non-resident pontifical representative to Vietnam, paid a courtesy visit to leaders of the Foreign Ministry in Hanoi on Thursday.

At the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son affirmed the consistent policy of the Party and State of Vietnam of respecting the right to freedom of belief of people and ensuring the equality among religions.

He valued the Vietnamese Catholics' role in Vietnam in the past and at present and acknowledged recent encouraging progress in relations with the Vatican.

Deputy FM Son expressed his wish that the non-resident pontifical representative to Vietnam would guide the Vietnam Catholic Church to implement Pope Benedict XVI's teachings during the Ad limina in June, 2009 and in the message to open the Jubilee year 2010 in November 2009, in the spirit of living the gospel among the nation, and a good Catholic meaning a good citizen, who is responsible for contributing to the country's development.

Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli thanked the concerned Vietnamese agencies for creating favorable conditions for his first working visit to Vietnam from April 18 to May 1.

He shared his view on the above-said assessment, saying that the success of the Jubilee Year 2010 is a clear evidence of the policy to respect the freedom of belief and religion in Vietnam.

The representative stressed that the Vatican and himself personally will spare no effort to promote the two sides' relations, contributing to helping the Vietnam Catholic community follow the motto of "living well in one's life and one's faith" and making contributions to the national development cause.

During his visit to Vietnam, Archbishop Girelli is scheduled to take part in celebrations of Easter in Hanoi, and attend the annual meeting of the Vietnam Episcopal Council, the first of its kind in 2011, in Ho Chi Minh City and visit some local dioceses.

Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli is also apostolic nuncio to Singapore and Timor Leste and apostolic delegate to Malaysia and Brunei.

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