Government signs annual agreement with the Timorese Episcopal Conference

Fri. 19 of February of 2021, 17:15h

The Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, and the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Dili, Dom Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, representing the President of the Timorese Episcopal Conference (CET – Portuguese acronym), Dom Norberto do Amaral, Bishop of the Diocese of Maliana, signed today, February 19th, an agreement that sets out the attribution, by the Government, of a public grant, corresponding to a total amount of fifteen million U.S. dollars, for the financial year 2021, for carrying out activities in the educational, social and ecclesial government areas. The signing ceremony took place in the Auditorium of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, at the Government Palace, in Dili.

This agreement is concluded under the Concordat, an agreement signed on August 14th, 2015, between the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Holy See, which establishes the legal framework for bilateral relations between the two States, and the Framework Agreement, signed on June 16th, 2017 between the Government and CET. These agreements provide for an annual contribution, according to the Government’s financial availability, to the activities of social, educational and ecclesial government of the Catholic Church. The amount and modalities of the grant are regulated annually by specific agreements between the Government and the Timorese Episcopal Conference.

The agreement now signed provides that, at least 50% of the value of the grant will be used for educational purposes, and at least 25% for social purposes. It is also expected that no more than 15% of the amount will be used for ecclesial government purposes, and that a maximum of 10% will be spent for grant management purposes.

The Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Social Communication, Francisco Martins da Costa Pereira Jerónimo, the Minister of Finance, Rui Augusto Gomes, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno and the Bishop of the Diocese of Baucau, Dom Basílio do Nascimento,  also attended in the ceremony.

The President of the Timorese Episcopal Conference (CET), Dom Norberto do Amaral, Bishop of the Diocese of Maliana, was unable to attend the ceremony due to the sanitary fence imposed on the municipality of Bobonaro, which prohibits travel between this municipality and other municipalities. The ceremony was also not attended  by the Apostolic Nuncio to Timor-Leste, Joseph Salvador Marino, who is observing the mandatory quarantine period, after his recent arrival in the country.