Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has welcomed the ratificantion of an agreement between the Holy See and Cape Verde, saying it is a sign of the "excellent collaboration" between the Church and the country's government.
"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," he said in a statement.
"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”.
The agreement is centered on the legal status of the Catholic Church in Cape Verde that was signed on June 10th, 2013 in Praia.
The ratification was made as Pope Francis received in private audience Thursday morning Cape Verde's Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves, who then met with Cardinal Parolin and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States. During that meeting, Cardinal Parolin and Cape Verde's prime minister exchanged the instruments of the ratification.
The agreement, which consists of thirty articles, strengthens friendship and collaboration between the parties by implementing a framework which emphasizing certain elements.
The framework highlights teaching religion in schools, recognizing Sundays as a day of rest, and giving guarantees related to Catholic education. It also regulates various items that are of common interest, protects places of worship and celebration, discusses charitable activities of the Church, pastoral care in prisons, in hospitals, and of armed forces, among other items.
The thirtieth day after exchanging the instruments of ratification is when the agreement will come into effect.
Cardinal Parolin said the exchange ceremony was "a happy 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," he said. (D.C.L.)