which the Vatican announced, “confirms a number of principles and
defines issues regarding questions of common interest” was signed at
the presidential palace in Sarajevo on April 19th.
The Holy See was
represented by Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico, apostolic nuncio to
Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Bosnia-Herzegovina by Ivo Miro Jovic, Croatian
member of the country's collegial presidency.
statement--released today--said that the agreement, while "bearing in
mind the respective independence and autonomy of State and Church and
their willingness to collaborate with each other, establishes the
juridical framework for their reciprocal relations.”
the communiqué went on, “it regulates the juridical position of the
Catholic Church in civil society; her freedom and independence in her
apostolic activities and in the regulation of her own affairs; and her
freedom of worship and of action in the fields of culture, education,
pastoral care, charity and the mass media.”
“The text also
makes provision for the running of Catholic schools of all levels;
spiritual assistance to the armed forces, and in prisons and hospitals;
and the organization of Catholic healthcare and charity structures''.
concluded by saying that the new agreement ''will come into force
following the exchange of the instruments of ratification."
week, on the anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI election to the papacy, a
significant agreement was reached in the strained relationship between
the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina the Holy See.