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Vatican rules out special privileges in Angola

Vatican, ANGOLA, September 13 - Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on Friday that the Catholic Church is not seeking to obtain special privileges in Angola to the detriment of other religious institutions.,

Speaking at the signing ceremony of the Framework Agreement between the Angolan Government and the Holy See, Pietro Parolin said it was simply a question of defining the legal framework for his activities and relations with Angolan state institutions, for the benefit of the Catholic faithful and the society in general.

He underlined that the agreement recognises the public juridical personality of the Catholic Church and its main institutions in the civil field, the free exercise of its apostolic mission and the specific contribution in the various areas of the country's life.

However,  he added that  it was a true and proper international agreement,  as both parties to the Agreement - Angola and the Holy See - enjoy international legal personality.  

“We are convinced that this Framework Agreement will be able to reaffirm and deepen the bonds of the friendship and solidarity between the Parties, as well as allow and foster a cordial understanding and effective collaboration between state authorities and church pastors for the benefit of the common good  of the whole nation, ”he noted.  

Pietro Parolin stressed that the Framework Agreement is an important step in the bilateral relations established in 1977 between Angola and the Holy See, which, since 1975, had already appointed an Apostolic Delegate for the country.

He also recalled some events that helped consolidate the good relations between Angola and the Holy See along this period.

As example he mentioned the historic visits of Pope John Paul II in 1992 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, and the visit of the former President of the Republic José Eduardo dos Santos to the Vatican, in 2014.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin recalled that since 1997 the Holy See has had an Apostolic Nuncio residing in Luanda, currently vacant post after the end of the mission of Monsignor Petar Raji.

He said that the Catholic Church is well accepted in the country, stressing that solid foundations are being laid for an ever more fruitful collaboration, in a climate of cordiality and respect, between the Holy See and the Angolan State, capable of meeting pastoral and social demands of the country.  

On the other hand, Cardinal Pietro Parolin stated that  the Catholic Church in Angola is active and dynamic, keeps and transmits a living faith and a rich tradition, blessed by numerous priestly and religious vocations, as result of the evangelising mission started in the 15th century.

According to the secretary, today the presence of the community of the Catholic faithful in the country is manifested not only through a vast network of educational and social assistance structures, but also through an important component of civil society that wishes to contribute to reconciliation and national reconstruction.

Signed Framework Agreement were Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto (Angola) and Secretary for Relations with States, Paul Richard Gallagher on behalf of Holly See.