Pope Francis will from 7th to 10th November, 2015 send his Secretary for the Relations with States of the Holy City to Zambia to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Diplomatic relations between the Holy See (Vatican) and the Republic of Zambia.
Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia and Malawi Archbishop Julio Murat has disclosed this when he met President Edgar today, 20th October, 2015.
Archbishop Julio Murat further said the development is a reminder of Pope Francis’ closeness to the Catholic Church and to all the people of Zambia.
And the Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia and Malawi Archbishop Julio Murat has also noted the relevant expression that President Edgar Lungu had used in his speech at the United Nations summit last September, when he thanked his Holiness Pope Francis for his candid and inspiring remarks on the need for nations to take seriously the question of climate change and protection of the environment for sustainable development.
Archbishop Julio Murat in the meeting with the president highlighted the natural beauty and resources of Zambia and underlined the actuality of the Encyclical letter of the Holy Father Pope Francis, Laudato sii, for the preservation of nature and the correct use of the natural resources for the benefit of the Zambian Citizens.
Archbishop Murrat further assured president Lungu the will of the Catholic Church to contribute towards the growth of the spiritual and human development of the Zambian citizens, without distinction.
He also thanked President Lungu for the meeting held on July 2015 with the Catholic Bishops of Zambia and expressed his appreciation for his government’s openness to dialogue.
And President Edgar Lungu has assured the Catholic Church in Zambia of his government’s continued cooperation and collaboration in all areas of human development.
President Lungu said government will continue to render support to the Catholic Church in its spiritual and human development efforts.
The Head of State said that both the Church and government have the common responsibility of improving the quality of human life as they serve the same constituents.
President Lungu acknowledged that the Catholic Church plays a significant role in uplifting the living standards of the people through the provision of services in the health and education sectors.
The President stated that the Church is a partner to government hence the need for it to provide unwavering support whenever Government was faced with challenges.
‘’But what we see is that when things are bad they sit back without providing support. As government, we have been charged with the responsibility of the affairs of the State, help us to improve the economy because poverty can destroy the lives of our people. If we are not managing properly feel free to admonish us.’’
The Apostolic Nuncio was delivering a special message to President Lungu that Pope Francis will send the Secretary for the Relations with States of the Holy See, Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher to visit Zambia from 7th to 10th November 2015, as a sign of closeness of Pope Francis to the Catholic Church and Zambians.
President Lungu stated that government is ready to further consolidate bilateral relations with the Vatican and looked forward to continued mutual cooperation.
President Lungu also paid glowing tribute to Pope Francis for his steadfast support to the improvement of humankind especially for curtailing negative debate on immigration, when he addressed the United States joint session of Congress on the sidelines of the recently held 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The Head of State said Zambia feels part of the Pope whenever he addressed issues of oneness of the people.
President Lungu also assured the Apostolic Nuncio that government is ready to dialogue with the Church over the Statutory Instrument which requires churches to pay tax on imported equipment and was waiting for recommendations from the Church on how best the instrument could be utilised.
The meeting was attended by Special Assistants to the President for Economics Mr. Hibene Mwinga, Mr. Sukwana Lukangaba for Legal, Mr Kaizer Zulu for Political Affairs, State House Permanent Secretary Mr Emmanuel Chilubanama and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director in charge of Politicas Isabel Lemba.
The Apostolic Nuncio was accompanied by First Secretary at the Vatican Embassy in Zambia Rev. Father Marco Formica.
This is contained in a statement made available to media in Lusaka today by State House Chief Analyst, Press and Public Relations, Cecilia Lubumbashi Mulenga.
And Zambia Episcopal Conference Communications Officer Mwenya Mukuka has told ZANIS in a statement that Archbishop Murrat assured president Lungu during the meeting that the Catholic Church will continue to contribute towards the spiritual and human development of Zambians.
Mr. Mukuka said the Archbishop thanked President Lungu for the meeting held on July 2015 with the Catholic Bishops of Zambia and expressed his appreciation for his government’s openness to dialogue