Holy See–Vietnam relations
Before the independence of Vietnam there already existed, since 1925, an Apostolic Delegation (a non-diplomatic mission accredited to the Catholic Church in the area) for Indochina, based in Hanoi. After the expulsion of its staff by the North Vietnamese authorities, the headquarters of the Apostolic Delegation was moved to Saigon in 1957. In 1964, responsibility for relations with the Church in Laos was transferred to the Apostolic Delegation in Bangkok and the Saigon-based mission was renamed Apostolic Delegation for Vietnam and Cambodia.
Cambodia and the Holy See established diplomatic relations in 1994 and the name of the Apostolic Delegation was again changed, this time to Apostolic Delegation for Vietnam. Meanwhile, with the end of the Vietnam War, the Apostolic Delegate was forced to leave. Since an apostolic delegation, unlike an embassy, is not a bilateral institution with involvement by the State, the Apostolic Delegation for Vietnam has not been suppressed, but has remained inactive since 1975.
Temporary missions from the Holy See to discuss with the Government matters of common interest are sent every year or two, and there has been at least one visit to the Vatican by a Vietnamese mission.
Marxism and communism officially promoted atheism, causing Roman Catholics and other Christians to be associated with the anti-communist South Vietnam region. This has strained relations between the Holy See and the Hanoi Government. Leading bishops have been imprisoned for several years, in what some observers have described as a persecution of the Vietnamese Church.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng and Pope Benedict XVI met at the Vatican on 25 January 2007 in a "new and important step towards establishing diplomatic ties". The first meeting of the Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group was convened in Hanoi from 16–17 February 2009. The Pope met with President Nguyễn Minh Triết on 11 December 2009. Vatican officials called the meeting "a significant stage in the progress of bilateral relations with Vietnam." The Vietnam-Holy See Joint Working Group met for a second time in June 2010
There is also a question of Church property confiscated by the Vietnamese government and that the Church has sought to recover.
In January 2011 the Holy See appointed the first envoy, formally "non-resident representative to Vietnam" with Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli being the first to hold the post in addition to Archbishop Girelli's other roles as Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore and Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia.
- Antonio G. Filipazzi, Rappresentanze e Rappresentanti Pontifici dalla seconda metà del XX secolo (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2006 ISBN 88-209-7845-8), p. X, XII, XV, 189)
- Vietnamese leader meets pontiff BBC News 25 January 2007 Retrieved 18 November 2010 WebCitation archive
- Holy See-Vietnam Meeting Goes Well Vatican Radio 20 February 2009 Retrieved 20 November 2010
- Relations progress as Vietnamese president meets with Pope Catholic News Agency 11 December 2009 Retrieved 18 November 2010 WebCitation archive
- Holy See-Vietnam Hold 2nd Diplomatic Meeting. Joint Working Group Last Met in February 2009 ZENIT 21 June 2010 Retrieved 20 November 2010
- Pianigiani, Gaia "Vatican: Envoy to Vietnam Appointed" The New York Times January 13, 2011
- Vatican hails progress in relations with Vietnam
- Progress in relations between Holy See and Vietnam Video of meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and President Nguyễn Minh Triết from Official YouTube channel of the Vatican. December 11, 2009, Retrieved November 20, 2010