Reports: Vietnam Blocks Visit by Vatican Delegation

Posted March 26th, 2012 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Vietnam is reported to have blocked a Vatican delegation from visiting the Southeast Asian nation.

Both the Catholic press service AsiaNews and the French news agency said Monday the Hanoi government revoked the visas of a delegation of the Vatican Commission, which was due in Vietnam last week to speak to people who knew the late Cardinal Francois-Xavier Van Thuan. The interviews are a key part of Vatican procedures known as beatification — the last step before sainthood.

The Hanoi government has not commented on the matter.

Van Thuan was appointed Saigon's assistant archbishop in April 1975, a week before the South Vietnamese capital fell to communist forces, ending the Vietnam War (Saigon was later renamed Ho Chi Minh City). He was then jailed without trial for more than 13 years in a detention camp, where he smuggled messages to people on scraps of paper. Those writings were saved and later published as the book The Road to Hope.

The cardinal was forced into exile in Rome on his release from detention in 1989, and died there in 2002.