Vietnam – Vatican relations increasingly intensified and more expansive


The relation between the State of Vietnam and the Vatican is a relatively special and the upgrading of the bilateral relation shows Vietnam’s external policy and a significant  development between Vietnam and Vatican, said Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vũ Chiến Thắng.

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vũ Chiến Thắng (left) and Pope Francis

In an interview granted to the Communist Party of Vietnam’s online newspaper, Deputy Minister Vũ Chiến Thắng noted that 2023 marked a historic step in the diplomatic relation between Vietnam and the Vatican. During the visit to the Vatican by Vietnamese President Võ Văn Thưởng on July 27, 2023, Vietnam and the Vatican formally announced the adoption of the Status of the Resident Papal Representative and the Office of the Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam. On December 24, 2023, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Marek Zalewski as the first permanent Vatican representative in Vietnam. Archbishop Marek Zalewski officially arrived in Vietnam on January 31, 2024 to take up this position.

The deputy minister clarified that the Vatican is an independent state and a religious organization having great influence on the Catholic community around the world, including Vietnam with over seven millions of followers.

According to the Deputy Minister, Pope Francis’s appointment of Archbishop Marek Zalewski as the first Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam is the shared joy of the Vietnam Catholic Church. Catholic dignitaries and parishioners in Vietnam will have many opportunities to meet with representatives of the Holy See, as well as the Vatican and the Pope will have more favorable conditions in taking care of religious activities of the Vietnam Catholic Church and Catholic community.

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vũ Chiến Thắng (right) receives Archbishop Marek Zalewski at headquarters of the Ministry of Home Affairs  

The official affirmed that the upgrading of the relation showed the consistent external policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation, development, diversification and multilateralization of relations, and being a friend, a reliable partner of countries worldwide, and a responsible member of the international community of the Vietnam Party and State. In line with this policy, Vietnam attaches importance to and is ready to promote relations with the Holy See in the principle of respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, not interfering in each other’s internal affairs, and actively contributing to global peace, cooperation and development.

He expressed hope that Archbishop Marek Zalewski, the first representative of the Holy See would continue guiding Catholic people in Vietnam to closely stay attached to and accompany with the nation.

Recently, Chairman of the Commission for External Relations Lê Hoài Trung met with Pope Francis, Cardinal Pietro Parolin Vatican's Secretary and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Vatican Paul Richard Gallagher in the Holy See on January 18. The Vatican dignitaries expressed high regard for Vietnam's guidelines and policies, including the invitation of Pope Francis to visit Vietnam and favorable conditions extended to Catholicism in Vietnam. Pope Francis has accepted the invitation to visit Vietnam and stated that he would arrange to visit Vietnam as soon as possible and stressed that the dialogue of the Holy See and Vietnam was a model of mutual trust.

The Deputy Minister expressed his belief that the fine Vietnam – Vatican relation currently will be promoted through efforts and goodwill of the both sides, as well as the Vietnam Catholic Church would continue make practical contributions for socio-economic development of the country.


Anh Khôi