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Vatican official confident of religious freedom

Cardinal Ivan Dias joins Vietnam’s Jubilee Year closing ceremony

Vatican official confident of religious freedom
Cardinal Ivan Dias and local Church leaders bless the new Marian statue reporter

January 6, 2011

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On a visit to Vietnam for the closing ceremony of the Jubilee Year 2010, papal special envoy Cardinal Ivan Dias expressed confidence that religious freedom will be respected in the communist nation. “I believe that religious freedom will be ensured and local religious organizations and people, regardless of their faiths, will have favorable conditions to publicly express and practice their faiths,” Cardinal Dias told the crowd at the Jubilee Year ceremony at the national Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang on Jan. 5. Cardinal Dias, who heads the Congregation of Evangelization for Peoples, was accompanied on his visit by Vietnamese Monsignor Barnabew Nguyen Van Phuong, who is also a Vatican official. Over 100,000 people attended the closing ceremony, including 60 cardinals and bishops and 1,000 priests. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan and provincial officials from Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces also took part in the  event. Cardinal Dias, who spoke in French with Monsignor Phuong translating into Vietnamese, noted that the presence of local government and Church leaders was “a good sign for the future.” The Indian cardinal said that the Catholic Church requests no special favors for itself but only asks for the basic freedom to work according to its mission. The Church continues to cooperate with other people to protect their dignity and serve the common good, he added. Cardinal Dias said that the Church and government are like the parents of a family. When they live in harmony with one another their children are happy, he said. “I hope God allows that between the local Church and State in this country,” he added. The crowd gave Cardinal Dias a big round of applause when he said in Vietnamese “Toi yeu men Giao hoi Viet Nam” (I love the Church in Vietnam). The top Vatican official also said he was happy to be at the 213-year-old shrine where Our Lady appeared and consoled local Catholics who had suffered religious persecution. Cardinal Dias also blessed a new 4.2-meter-high stone statue of Mother Mary located on the main platform of the shrine. Related reports Hue puts finishing touches to shrine Vietnam Church seeks more ways to serve VT12733.1635
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