Holy See Accord With Brazil Enters Into Force


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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2009 ( An agreement signed by the Holy See and Brazil entered into force today, with a formal ratification ceremony in the Vatican.

The agreement, signed Nov. 13, 2008, "consolidates further the traditional bonds of friendship and collaboration existing between the two parties," a communiqué from the Holy See stated.

The agreement has a preamble and 20 articles, which regulate the juridical status of the Catholic Church in Brazil, recognition of degrees, religious education in public schools, and canonical marriage, among other things.

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican secretary for relations with states, represented the Holy See; plenipotentiary ambassador Luiz Felipe de Seixas Corrêa represented Brazil.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, was also present at the ceremony.

The accord provides for religious education in public schools; exempts religious institutions from taxes; recognizes ecclesiastical decisions in matters of marriage; and recognizes ecclesiastical academic titles.

In 1991, the Brazilian episcopate suggested the timeliness of stipulating an international agreement between the Church and state. Negotiations between the government and the Holy See began officially in 2006.

The agreement was signed last year during a visit of Brazilian President Lula da Silva to the Vatican.