About 200 priests and Catholic laymen marched through the streets of Rome on Thursday (5 April).
About 200 priests and Catholic laymen marched through the streets of Rome on Thursday (5 April). They were calling on the Pope not to receive President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam, who is reportedly visiting Rome this weekend (7/8 April). Statements issued in Saigon said he intended seeing the Pope.
It is believed to be the first time priests have demonstrated publically in an appeal to the Pope, who is leader of the world's Catholics. Many of the marchers carried placards bearing the names of Buddhist monks said to be in South Vietnamese jails.
A group of 30 left-wing deputies has tabled a Parliamentary question suggesting Thieu's visit is "inopportune."
SYNOPSIS: About 200 marchers called on the Pope not to receive President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam, who's expected in Rome this weekend. The demonstrators included a number of priests. It's believed to be the first time in history that Roman Catholic priests have publically demonstrated in an appeal to the Pope, who is head of the Catholic Church.
The priests carried placards bearing the names of Buddhist monks said to be imprisoned in South Vietnam. Although President Thieu is not making an official visit to Italy, an official announcement was made in Saigon saying he intended to seek an audience with the Pope during his visit.
There has also been opposition to President Thieu's visit from some Italian political quarters. A group of 30 left-wing Christian Democrat deputies have tabled a Parliamentary question on the matter. They suggest the Vietnamese President's visit is inopportune. They also alleged widespread religious oppression in South Vietnam.