Vatican City, 3 April 2014 (VIS) - This morning, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Jose Maria Pereira Neves, prime minister of the Republic of Cape Verde, who then went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
Subsequently, in the Sala dei Trattati of the Apostolic Palace, the Cardinal Secretary of State and the prime minister exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Cape Verde on the legal status of the Catholic Church in Cape Verde, signed in Praia on 10 June 2013.
The Agreement, which further consolidates the bonds of friendship and collaboration existing between the two Parties, consists of thirty articles and establishes a basic legal and normative framework. It recognises Sundays as days of rest and regulates various areas of common interest, such as the protection of places of worship and celebrations; the civil effects of canonical marriage and the ecclesiastical judgements in this regard; guarantees of Catholic institutions of instruction and education; the teaching of religion in schools; aid and charitable activity of the Church, pastoral care of the armed forces, in prisons and in hospitals, and matters related to the property and tax regime. The Agreement will come into effect on the thirtieth day following the exchange of the Instruments of ratification.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin commented during the meeting that the exchange ceremony offered "a welcome opportunity to reflect with satisfaction on the period between the initiation of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Cape Verde in 1976, shortly after independence.
"During these years a cordial and fruitful path has been undertaken, the foundations have been laid for an increasingly effective collaboration, ready to take account of long-standing hopes as well as to respond adequately to today's pastoral and social demands.
"The solemn Act we celebrate today certainly does not constitute a point of arrival, but rather a renewal of commitment by the two Parties for the good of the people of Cape Verde. For the Church in Cape Verde, this takes on the value of an historic event, a sign of the excellent collaboration between the political Authorities and the Catholic Community".