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Pope appoints representative to Vietnam

Non-resident official a first step towards re-establishing diplomatic ties

  • ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Vietnam
  • January 14, 2011
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Pope Benedict XVI has named a non-resident pontifical representative for Vietnam as a first step towards re-establishing diplomatic ties.

On Jan. 13, the pope appointed Italian Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, currently Vatican nuncio to Indonesia, to serve as his non-resident representative to the communist nation.

Earlier, addressing the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See on Jan. 10, Pope Benedict noted “with satisfaction” that “the Vietnamese authorities have accepted my appointment of a Representative who will express the solicitude of the Successor of Peter by visiting the beloved Catholic community of that country.”

Archbishop Girelli, 57, was also named to simultaneously serve as nuncio in Singapore and apostolic delegate in Malaysia and Brunei.

Archbishop Girelli, who has been in the Vatican diplomatic corps since 1987, previously served at nunciatures in Cameroon, New Zealand and the United States. He also served in the Vatican Secretariat of State. He was ordained a bishop in 2006 when he was named nuncio to Indonesia.

Last June a joint working group formed by the Vatican and the Vietnamese government announced that the two sides had agreed that a papal representative would be named.

A statement from the working group said that, unlike a nuncio, the representative would not reside in Vietnam for the time being.

Vietnam is one of nine Asian countries - Afghanistan, Bhutan, The People’s Republic of China, the Maldives, North Korea, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Tuvalu - that have no diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

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