The Vatican late last month announced that Pope Benedict would soon name "a non-resident representative" to Vietnam, a highly unusual move that seems to have divided local Catholics and taken some Vietnamese church leaders by surprise.
"In order to deepen the relations between the Holy See and Vietnam, as well as the bonds between the Holy See and the local Catholic Church, it was agreed that, as a first step, a non-resident representative of the Holy See for Vietnam will be appointed by the Pope," the Vatican said in statement.
Vietnam has Asia's second-largest Catholic population and has been holding talks with the Vatican for years on forging diplomatic ties.
“I’m really confused,” said Father Jean Baptiste Huynh Cong Minh, an aide to
Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City reportedly told a local paper , “because this morning when I met with the cardinal he seemed to know nothing about the move either.”