After protests, Vietnam says it will return nunciature to Catholics
Published: February 1, 2008
HANOI, Vietnam (CNS) -- After round-the-clock prayer vigils and protests on the grounds of the former apostolic nunciature in Hanoi, Vietnamese authorities have decided to return the building to the Catholic Church. City officials said the government would return the former nunciature, which the communist government confiscated in 1959, after the Vietnamese lunar new year celebrations Feb. 7-9, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News Feb. 1. Government officials informed the Hanoi Archdiocese of the building's return at a Jan. 31 meeting, but on Feb. 1 Catholics were still occupying the property, reported UCA News. Church sources told the Rome-based missionary news service AsiaNews that civil authorities decided to let the church have the building "to show good will and respect toward the pope." The announcement of the breakthrough came a day after the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, sent a letter to Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi.
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