Lithuania signs three agreements with Vatican

  • 2000-05-11
VILNIUS (BNS) - Lithuanian and Vatican officials signed three agreements May 5 regulating mutual relations, educational and cultural cooperation and pastoral care for Roman Catholic troops.

The three documents were signed in Vilnius by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas and the Apostolic Nuncio at the Holy See, Archibishop Erwin Josef Ender.

Under the first agreement, Lithuania and the Vatican determined their independence and autonomy in their fields and agreed to start active cooperation on issues of education, culture, family, social fields, morals and protection of human dignity, Saudargas said.

The agreement on cultural and educational cooperation creates conditions for Catholic education and ensures respect to religious beliefs, symbols and values.

The third pact ensures constant pastoral care for Roman Catholic troops. Vilnius Archibishop Audrys Juozas Backis told reporters that the Holy See will appoint a bishop to be in charge of the pastoral work of armed forces. Backis said that Roman Catholic troops will be like a separate diocese of believers, however, without a territory.

"The three agreements we signed today confirm good relations based on mutual trust, and consolidates them for further cooperation," said Ender.

The concordat signed between Lithuania and Vatican in 1927 is still valid, but no longer used in mutual relations because of the out-of-date stipulations of the document.

The three new agreements will be enforced after the Lithuanian parliament ratifies the pacts, and Lithuania and the Vatican exchange certain documents.