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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Vatican envoy: Vietnam’s government must respect religious freedom

The Vatican envoy to Vietnam called on the Southeast Asian nation’s communist government to respect religious freedom.

Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the nonresident representative of the Vatican to Vietnam, presided at the 13th August opening Mass of the Marian Congress, held at the national shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in central Vietnam’s Quang Tri province.

In his homily, Archbishop Girelli spoke of the state of religious freedom in the country, reported

“In some provinces, civil authorities are anxious and complain about the Catholics and their deeds,” the archbishop said during Mass, where he was joined by Vietnamese bishops and some 200 priests.

Archbishop Girelli advised the gathering on the wisdom of St Peter’s words: “We must obey God rather than men” and of Jesus’ “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

“I would like to tell the Vietnamese Caesars to give to God what is God’s,” he said, to which the congregation responded with a large round of applause.

Picture: A woman collects lotus flowers in Hanoi, Vietnam. (CNS photo/Luong Thai Linh, EPA).