"The socio-political context of the country is indeed very delicate. When there is poverty, there is crisis, everybody asks, everybody cries, but the answers become very difficult, because we are not in the abundance of the past, but we are in a shortage that has been taking us for more than seven years", said this Tuesday the spokesman of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST), Belmiro Chissengueti.
Speaking at the presidential palace in Luanda after the Catholic prelates were received in audience by João Lourenço, Bishop Belmiro Chissengueti reported that the repatriation of illicit capital was one of the points addressed.
On the subject, the Bishop of Cabinda also made it known that João Lourenço assured the CEAST bishops present at the meeting that "soon or in due time" the competent authorities involved in this process, namely the Attorney General's Office and the Ministry of Finance, "will provide punctual information about it".
The "difficult" socio-economic framework of the country, "aggravated in recent days by the fall in the price of oil", the greatest support for the country's economy, is also the concern of the Catholic bishops presented to the President.
"So we have to be aware of times of great austerity and difficulty, which will require the understanding and collaboration of all," he said.
For the spokesman of CEAST, in the context of "much difficulty" the country is experiencing, special attention must be given "to the most vulnerable fringes of the population so that they are not too badly affected" by the scourge.
"We have also seen the issue of social order that needs to be helped to ensure and also other options that the state must take in order to safeguard peace and national reconciliation", he added.
In the ecclesial field, he stressed, the President assured the 17 bishops present at the meeting that, despite the limitations of the situation, the requalification of the Muxima sanctuary, the largest Marian centre in sub-Saharan Africa, whose works were awarded in 2018, "is for walking".
The government plans to spend more than 260 million euros on the requalification of the road and the Muxima sanctuary, municipality of Quiçama, in Luanda, works that are progressing after 10 years and that will involve the construction companies of Portuguese origin Somague and Casais.
The information is contained in four orders signed by João Lourenço, on 19 December 2018, to which Lusa had access, authorizing the contracting of the construction companies for the works, namely the construction of the basilica for 4,600 faithful.
This Monday, Bishop Belmiro Chissengueti also pointed out that the basilica of Muxima will contribute to religious tourism, will be a space "generating direct and indirect jobs" and during the life of the enterprise "many will find their livelihood there".
This project was launched in 2008 by the then President José Eduardo dos Santos who, about a year later, during Benedict XVI's pastoral visit to Angola, showed the model to the Pope and offered the future basilica to the Holy See.