Cardinal Man, who was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 21, has been the archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) since 1998. One of two Vietnamese cardinals, he was named archbishop of the city's Catholic diocese after the post had been vacant for four years because of a disagreement between the Vatican and the Vietnamese government, which tightly controls religion.
His appointment as cardinal reignited the controversy, with Vietnamese officials contending that the Vatican had not sought their approval before announcing Cardinal Man's elevation. The Vatican has insisted that it never seeks permission regarding appointments of cardinals and that nominations are entirely up to the pope.
The Catholic Church in Vietnam is one of the principal providers of social services, although only about 8 percent of the nation's citizens are Catholic, said Rev. Julio Guilietti, SJ, director of Boston College's Center for Ignatian Spirituality. Fr. Giulietti will be hosting Cardinal Man during his visit to campus.
Fr. Giulietti, who has extensive experience with higher education in Southeast Asia, has known Cardinal Man for several years and says a partnership with an American Jesuit university would greatly benefit the Catholic Church in Vietnam.
"His visit will be important," Fr. Guilietti said. "Cardinal Man is very balanced, a man of dialogue and truth, and a devoted pastoral leader. He is open to articulating the leadership of the Catholic Church with the needs of his nation."
Cardinal Man's specific interests in Boston College resources are critical for his ministry in Vietnam, Fr. Giulietti said. He hopes to establish a partnership with Boston College that will improve delivery of public health services, enhance the library systems of seminaries and schools in the archdiocese and better integrate the traditional Vietnamese love for music into church liturgies.
While in Boston, Cardinal Man will also meet with members of the region's Vietnamese community and have a brief visit with Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, Fr. Giulietti said.
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