A high-level Vatican delegation has met with officials in Hanoi, for talks on establishing diplomatic ties between the Communist state and the Roman Catholic Church. The talks take place a month after a visit by the country’s Prime Minister to Pope Benedict XVI.
Bilateral relations improved recently after decades of tension. Communist authorities have always monitored religious groups in the country closely and insisted on approving most church appointments. One of the topics of discussion will be the case of Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest accused of disseminating anti-government propaganda and moved from his large city church to a smaller parish. There are about six million Catholics in Vietnam, which until last year, was on a blacklist of countries that repressed religious rights.