Timor-Leste and Holy See initiate negotiations regarding Concordat

Wed. 20 of April of 2011, 10:50h

The first meeting between both Timorese and the Holy See delegations, regarding the negotiation of the Bilateral Agreement, took place on the 14 April, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Timorese Delegation was composed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zacarias Albano da Costa, the Minister of Education, João Câncio, the Minister of Justice, Lúcia Lobato and. the Minister of Social Solidarity, Domingas Alves.

The Holy See's Delegation was led by the Most Reverend Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the Reverend Bishop of Baucau, D. Basílio do Nascimento, the Reverend Father Domingos Sequeira, the Reverend Father Jose Antonio and the Reverend Father Ilidio.

This first meeting is a significant milestone regarding the relations between the State of Timor-Leste and the Holy See, as it marks the beginning of the procedures for the recognition of the juridical personality of the Catholic Church in East Timor. It also establishes a legal framework for the relations between the East Timorese State and the Catholic Church’s institutions which have been providing such relevant services to Timor-Leste.

Timor-Leste, being the Asian country with the highest percentage of catholics, participates in these negotiations inspired with a constructive spirit, one that reflects the sentiment of the overwhelming majority of its citizens, but without forgetting to safeguard the constitutional principles of a laic State and the respect for the internal legislation in force.

The first meeting enabled for the establishment of a methodology for the negotiations, the initial presentation of the points of view of each party and the scheduling of the next meeting of the delegations that will be held at the end of next June, in Dili.