.- Last 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.
The agreement, 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.
A 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.”
“In particular,” 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''.
The statement concluded by saying that the new agreement ''will come into force following the exchange of the instruments of ratification."