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VIETNAM PRELATES CELEBRATED MASS WITH POPE, NO MAJOR MEETINGS HELD

Updated: May 09, 1989 05:00 PM GMT
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Vietnamese Cardinal Trinh Van Can of Hanoi and Coadjutor Archbishop Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan of Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh concelebrated Mass with Pope John Paul II here April 17.

The Mass, celebrated in the pope´s private chapel, was also attended by people from the Vietnamese community.

Prior to the Mass, meetings were expected -- which were to include the two bishops and Archbishop Paul Nguyen Van Binh of Thanh-Pho Ho Chi Minh -- at the Secretariat of State and Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

However, sources said, such meetings did not take place.

Archbishop Binh arrived here April 17, and was joined by Father Huynh Cong Minh April 18.

Earlier, sources in Paris said the Vatican was reluctant to receive Father Minh, a long-time member of Vietnam´s Committee for the Unity of Catholic Patriotic Vietnamese.

The priest is known to have been involved in a 1975 Catholic youth demonstration in Vietnam which demanded the expulsion of Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Henri Lemaitre.

Father Minh was also alleged to have taken part in people´s courts which condemned, among others, a priest who some regard as innocent.

On April 22, Father Minh reportedly met with Father Vincent Tran Ngoc Thu, the pope´s close adviser on Vietnamese affairs.

Before coming to Rome in the late 1970s, Father Thu worked for 25 years in the Apostolic Delegation in Ho Chi Minh City, then called Saigon.

Cardinal Trinh Van Can flew back to Hanoi April 23.

END

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