On Jan. 20, Cardinal Fernando Filoni visited and met with Deputy Minister of Home Affairs cum Chairman of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs (GCRA) Phạm Dũng.
Joining the meeting included Archbishop Nguyễn Văn Nhơn of Hanoi Archdiocese; Archbishop Bùi Văn Đọc of Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese - President of the CBCV; Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, non-resident Special Envoy of Vatican to Vietnam; Mr. Dương Ngọc Tấn, Vice Chairman of the GCRA.
Speaking at the meeting, Chairman Phạm Dũng stated that the State of Vietnam has implemented the policy for respecting freedom of belief and religion as soon as the country achieved independence in 1945. He informed the guests that religions in Vietnam, including Catholicism, have co-existed in peace and unity, and Vietnam currently has about 6.7 million Catholics, accounting for around 27% of the country population, with many big Catholic events held annually, including La Vang and Ta Pao Marian Shrine festivals …
The GCRA leader recalled his earlier meetings with former Pope Benedict XVI and current Pope Francis in Vatican, and said that relations between Vietnam and Vatican saw positive changes through five working group meetings, the two side reached consensus on relation principles, and Vatican appointed Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli as the non-resident Special Envoy of Vatican to Vietnam in 2011.
In his speaking to the hosts, Cardinal Fernando Filoni shared the view that religious followers need to be faithful to and love their country, as well as to strengthen their religious faith, and regarded this as two solid pillars for religious people living in a country. He also expressed his willingness to, together with Vietnamese Catholics, make contributions to build a peaceful and happy society in Vietnam.
During his ongoing visit to Vietnam, the Vatican Prefect planned to attend religious services and visit Catholic places in Hanoi, provinces of Hoa Binh, Quang Tri, Quang Nam, Da Nang, Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh city.
Some images at the meeting reception: