Monday, November 22, 2004

Vietnam dismisses Vatican criticism

Vietnam rejected veiled criticism from the Vatican of its religious policy. A foreign ministry spokesman said people are free to practice their religion, including Christians. The reference was to a speech made by the Pope in which he lamented the suffering of those who are not free to practice their religious beliefs. Although he did not mention it by name, it was clear he was referring to Vietnam and China, according to Agence France Presse.

Speaking on the church in Asia, the Pope said (Nov. 19):

"To announce the Gospel in depth in Asia, it is necessary for all believers to penetrate every aspect of life with their faith. ... Especially where they suffer and are not free to profess their faith, the Kingdom of God must be proclaimed with 'a silent witness of life', carrying the cross and following in the footsteps of the suffering and crucified Christ, waiting patiently for the day there will be full religious freedom."


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