By Steven Candia
POPE Benedict XVI has commended Uganda for the freedom and respect extended to the Catholic Church, enabling it fulfill its goals.
Speaking at the Vatican at a function in which Ugandaâ€™s Ambassador to the Holy See, Canon Francis Butagira, presented his credentials, the Pope said the cordial relations between the Holy See and Uganda had borne tangible fruits.
â€œThe climate of freedom and respect in your nation towards the Catholic Church has allowed her to be faithful to her proper mission.â€
â€œThe fruits of cooperation between the Church and the State, especially in areas related to development, education and healthcare, are widely recognised,â€ the Pope said.
He added that such a solid foundation should promote personal integrity, justice and fairness in local communities and hope for the whole nation, an important factor in stability and growth.
The Pope, however, noted that despite the sound economic growth Uganda has enjoyed lately, there was still need to promote more productive forms of agriculture, the proper use of the countryâ€™s resources and the implementation of concrete policies of regional cooperation.
The Pope singled out Northern Uganda, which he said had been devastated by the LRA insurgency and hoped that lasting peace would soon return to the region.
The Pope assured Butagira of the Vaticanâ€™s continued support.