Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Feb 5, 2017 / 07:18 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Friday signed a framework agreement to govern relations between the Catholic Church and the state. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, signed the agreement with the Congolese Prime Minister Clement Mouamba.

The framework agreement guarantees the Catholic Church’s right to carry out her mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It recognizes the legal personality of the Church and of Catholic institutions. It affirms that both the Church and the State aim to work for the moral, spiritual and material wellbeing of individuals and to promote the common good.

In attendance at the signing ceremony were many bishops including Archbishop Francisco Escalante Molina, the apostolic nuncio to the Congo; Archbishop Anatole Milandou of Brazzaville; and Bishop Daniel Mizonzo of Nkai, president of the Congolese bishops’ conference. Various leading officials of the Congolese government also attended.

The Church runs a large network of schools, hospitals and private businesses in the country. About half of the country’s people identify as Catholic. In September 2016, Pope Francis met with the country’s president Joseph Kabilia. The Pope reportedly voiced concern about ongoing unrest in the country connected with delayed elections.