Vietnam revoked visas for a Vatican delegation visit to advance the beatification of a cardinal who spent 13 years in detention after the fall of the South, a church official said Monday.
The Vatican experts were due to arrive in the country last Friday to speak to people who knew Francois-Xavier Van Thuan.
But "the delegation can't come because the government of Vietnam withdrew the visas a few days ago," an official from the archbishop's office of Hanoi told AFP on the condition of anonymity.
Eglises d'Asie (Churches of Asia), the information agency of the Paris Foreign Missions Society, said it had learned from sources that the beatification plans had "angered" Hanoi, whose ties with the Vatican have long been strained.
In his cell, he wrote meditations on his spiritual experiences on the back of old calendars.
Beatification is a high Catholic honour that bestows the title of "Blessed". It is one step away from canonisation, which bestows sainthood.
The Holy See and Vietnam, which have cut diplomatic relations in 1975, have sought to boost relations in recent years.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung travelled to the Vatican in 2007, while an envoy from the Vatican paid a historic visit to Hanoi last year.
Catholic land confiscated since the end of French colonial rule in 1954 remains a contentious issue between the church and state, and has led to demonstrations.
Vietnam has Southeast Asia's largest Roman Catholic community after the Philippines -- about six million among a total population of 86 million.
Religious activity remains under state control.
Source: AFP Asian Edition