Vatican City, 25 October 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father Francis received in audience the president of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who subsequently met with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, mention was made of the Catholic Church's positive contribution in favour of the human, social and cultural development of the country, particularly in the fields of education and welfare, as well as the collaboration of the state in improving the quality of life for the population.

At the end of the visit, in the Sala dei Trattati of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the president of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the secretary for Relations with States exchanged the instruments for the ratification of the Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea on relations between the Catholic Church and the State, signed in the city of Mongomo on 13 October 2012.

The Agreement, which seals the existing good bilateral relations, recognises the legal personality of the Church and her Institutions. It also relates to canonical marriage, places of worship, educational institutions, and spiritual assistance to Catholic faithful in hospitals and in prisons. By solemn act the Agreement, composed of nineteen articles and an Additional Protocol, came into effect on today's date in accordance with article 18.1.

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