"In particular, the legal status of the Church and its institutions is recognized," it said, explaining that the two parties, "while safeguarding the independence and autonomy proper to them," are committed "to work together for the moral, spiritual and material well-being of the human person and for the promotion of the common good."
Several representatives from each side were present for the signing of the agreement.
Attendees from the Holy See included: Bishop Eugène Houndékon of Abomey, Vice President of the Benin Bishop's Conference; Bishop François Gnonhossou of Dassa-Zoumé; Bishop Aristide Gonsallo of Porto-Novo; Fr. Paschal Guezodje, Secretary General for the Bishop's Conference of Benin; Fr. Axel Chékété, Assistant Secretary General and Fr. Emmanuel Michodjehoun, a local collaborator with the apostolic nunciature.
Among the representatives from Benin were: Mr. Eric Franck Saïzonou, Director of Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Mr. William Comlan, Director of the Cabinet; Mr. Saturnin Tonoukouin, Director of State Protocol; Mr. Bienvenu Houngbédji, Adjunct-Director of Legal Affairs; Ms. Nelly Awouilihoua, Technical Advisor and Mr. Ghislain Agbozo, Special Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
St. John Paul II visited Benin in 1982. The most recent Pope to travel to the African nation was Pope Benedict XVI in 2011, when he made an official Nov. 18-20 visit to Cotonou.
Benedict made the trip in large part to deliver his Apostolic Exhortation about the future of Christianity on the continent, "Africae Munus" (The Commitment of Africa), which was written in response to the conclusions of the 2009 Synod of African Bishops in Rome.