Paul Samasumo – Vatican city.
The Holy See and Benin happy with “good existing relations.”
Pope Francis, on Friday, received in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the President of the Republic of Benin, Patrice Talon.
Afterwards, President Talon met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin who was accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
Church in Benin praised for its positive contribution
In a communique released after the visit, the Holy See said it had held cordial discussions with President Talon. The Holy See also praised the positive contribution of the Catholic Church in Benin particularly in the fields of education, healthcare and human development.
Later in the day, President Talon was interviewed at the Vatican News studios, by staff of the French Africa section.
In the interview, President Talon addressed political, social and economic issues facing Benin and Africa, in general. In discussing Benin’s controversial sect, the “Very Holy Church of Jesus Christ of Baname,’’ headed by the female leader, Vicentia Chanvoukini, President Talon said as republican president he was duty-bound to embrace everyone in the country regardless of their religious views.
Remembering Cardinal Bernardin Gantin of Benin
Prominent in the interview was the tenth anniversary of the death of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin.
Up until his retirement, Cardinal Gantin served in various senior positions of the Holy See including as Dean of the College of Cardinals. Born in 1922, Cardinal Gantin died on 13 May 2008. The tenth anniversary of his death was marked with a thanksgiving service held at St. Michael's Church in Cotonou, Benin. Commemorative events were also planned for Italy.
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI spoke highly of Cardinal Gantin at the time of his death.
“Many personal memories bind me to this Brother of ours, starting precisely from the moment when we received the Cardinal's hat from the hands of the Venerable Servant of God (now Blessed) Paul VI, 31 years ago now. We worked together here in the Roman Curia and frequently came into contact, which enabled me to appreciate increasingly his prudent wisdom, as well as his solid faith and sincere attachment to Christ and to the Pope, his Vicar on earth. Fifty-seven years as a priest, 51 as a Bishop and 31 as a Cardinal: this sums up a life spent for the Church,” Pope emeritus Benedict XVI said in 2008.
Later in 2011, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI on his Apostolic Voyage to Benin, paid homage and prayed at the tomb of Cardinal Gantin.