.- Bishops from Uganda met in audience with Pope Benedict XVI on Monday morning at the Apostolic Palace. A delegation of five representatives from the country were at the Vatican for their “ad Limina Apostolorum” visit.
The “ad Limina” visit of the Ugandan bishops will run from March 1-8, and will feature meetings with representatives from different congregations of the Holy See.
According to Fr. John Baptist Kauta, secretary general of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), who was interviewed by Vatican Radio, current issues in the local Catholic Church are: national reconciliation, justice and sustainable peace following 20 years of war in the northern part of the country, the inculturation of the liturgy and the fights against poverty and AIDS.
Vatican Radio reports that since the bishops' conference instituted the AIDS Focal Point program in 1995, major change have been brought about in the country regarding the incidence of new HIV infections. Due to education efforts directed at youth, which offered formation on the values of fidelity and pre-matrimonial abstinence, the rate decreased by 18 percent in the decade before 2002.
Another theme that could come up during their visit is inter-religious relations in the east African country. Of the estimated current population of approximately 30 million in Uganda, Catholics represent an estimated 41.5 percent, Anglicans 36 percent and Muslims 12 percent.