By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis received President of the Republic of Congo, Félix Antoine Tshilombo Tshisekedi, in audience in the Vatican today, Jan. 17, 2020.

According to a statement published by the Holy See Press Office, during cordial discussions, the parties evoked the good bilateral relations” along with “the satisfaction at the ratification of the Framework Agreement between the Holy See and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on matters of mutual interest.”

In this context, the statement said, the contribution of the Catholic Church in the democratic process, and in promoting the common good and integral development of the nation was highlighted, especially in the fields of education and healthcare.

Attention then turned, it noted, to the country’s current situation, with particular reference to the sufferings of the population in the eastern provinces, due to persistent armed conflict and the spread of the Ebola virus.

“Finally, mention was made of the urgency of collaboration and cooperation at national and international level, to protect human dignity and to promote civil coexistence, starting from the many refugees and displaced persons who are facing a grave humanitarian crisis.”

The President of Congo subsequently met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.

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