13 January 2014

Cameroon, Holy See Sign Agreement On Legal Status

The framework agreement was signed at the Ministry of External Relations in Yaounde on January 13, 2014.

A new page opened in cooperation ties between Cameroon, the Holy See and Catholic Church in Cameroon yesterday, January 13, 2014, following the signing of the first-ever Framework Agreement between the Government of Cameroon and the Holy See on the legal status of the Catholic Church in Cameroon.

Cameroon's Minister of External Relations, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, signed for the country, while the Apostolic Nuncio to Cameroon, Piero Pioppo signed on behalf of the Holy See. This was in the presence of some Cameroon government officials, including Cameroon's Ambassador to the Vatican, Antoine Zanga and some officials of the Catholic Church in Cameroon.

Speaking during the occasion, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo said it opened a new day and horizons in consolidating the already excellent cooperation ties between Cameroon and the Holy See and a greater leeway for the Catholic Church in the country to continue with its multi-sector development activities.

Acknowledging that the Catholic Church has been working for more than a century in the development of Cameroon, he said, "The Framework Agreement is the concretisation of the political will of our Head of State and the Pope." The Minister explained that it "scrupulously respects two constitutional principles of the secular nature of the State and religious freedom of our country."

The Apostolic Nuncio, Piero Pioppo, said that by signing the framework agreement with Cameroon as has been done with other countries, the Catholic Church was not looking for particular privileges, but just to work for the well-being and common good of all in justice and peace. He said it will enable the Catholic Church to further develop its activities in Cameroon.

The Framework Agreement

The Framework Agreement made up of nine articles, gives details on cooperation between the Cameroon and the Vatican. Per the agreement, Cameroon and the Holy See reiterate that the State and the Catholic Church, each one in its order, are sovereign, independent and autonomous, and are committed to working together for the moral, spiritual and material well-being of the human being and to promote common good.

Cameroon recognises the legal personality that the Catholic Church and the Holy See have inherently; legal personality of all the legal entities that enjoy this quality in the canon law at the time of entry into force of this Framework Agreement or who subsequently acquires it. Cameroon equally acknowledges the exclusive jurisdiction of the Holy See to erect, alter or to remove any institution, circumscription and other entities within its jurisdiction; to appoint, transfer, dismiss and accept the resignation of bishops and those that are canonically equivalent; and to appoint and assign ecclesiastical offices in accordance with the norms of canon law.

Government also acknowledges the Catholic Church's right to commit to human, social, cultural, moral, spiritual and material development for the good of all and to create, for this purpose, adequate institutions having legal personality under Cameroonian law. The agreement also governs the rights of Catholics to associate, acquire property and settle differences.

Cameroon and the Holy See, the agreement states, shall conclude agreements, protocols and special agreements for its implementation.

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