Concordat

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A concordat (French pronunciation: [kɔ̃kɔʁda] ) is a convention between the Holy See and a sovereign state that defines the relationship between the Catholic Church and the state in matters that concern both, [1] i.e. the recognition and privileges of the Catholic Church in a particular country and with secular matters that affect church interests.

Contents

According to P. W. Brown the use of the term "concordat" does not appear "until the pontificate of Pope Martin V (1413–1431) in a work by Nicholas de Cusa, entitled De Concordantia Catholica". [2] The first concordat dates from 1098, and from then to the beginning of the First World War the Holy See signed 74 concordats. [1] Due to the substantial remapping of Europe that took place after the war, new concordats with legal successor states were necessary. [1] The post-World War I era saw the greatest proliferation of concordats in history. [1]

Although for a time after the Second Vatican Council, which ended in 1965, the term 'concordat' was dropped, it reappeared with the Polish Concordat of 1993 and the Portuguese Concordat of 2004. A different mode of relations between the Vatican and various states is still evolving, [3] often contentiously, in the wake of a growing secularism and religious pluralism in the western world.

Church teaching

The Catholic church historically claimed not to be bound to one form of government over another, but was willing to work with any kind of government, so long as the rights of God and believers were maintained. Pius XI wrote in 1933:

Universally known is the fact that the Catholic Church is never bound to one form of government more than to another, provided the Divine rights of God and of Christian consciences are safe. She does not find any difficulty in adapting herself to various civil institutions, be they monarchic or republican, aristocratic or democratic. [4]

Church–state dichotomy

From a church–state perspective, the contentions regarding concordats involves two perspectives.

From a Catholic perspective, the Church has the moral and theological right to enter into diplomatic relations with states in order to reach agreements regarding the care of its members residing there. This is the concept of Libertas ecclesiae (freedom of the Church).

From a non-Catholic perspective, concordats may pose certain concerns such as:

Due to these concerns, the United States did not establish diplomatic ties to the Vatican until the Ronald Reagan administration in 1984; and, to this day, the United States does not have a concordat with the Vatican, despite the two having a mutual "compromise" in terms of relationship. [8]

"Although the United States will probably not go so far as some nations have by concluding a concordat with the Vatican, it will, in effect, further the religious purposes of the Vatican. Otherwise, the Vatican would have no interest in establishing diplomatic relations with the United States. Perhaps it is accurate to characterize the exchange of embassies as a compromise - meaning, the United States is willing to further the religious purposes of the Vatican, if the Vatican is willing to further the foreign policy objectives of the United States."

Samuel W. Bettwy,"United States - Vatican Recognition: Background and Issues" (1984), p. 257-258

Examples of concordats

The Signing of the Concordat between France and the Holy See, 15 July 1801. Artist: Francois Gerard, (1770-1837). Musee National du Chateau de Versailles, Versailles Gerard - Signature du Concordat entre la France et le Saint-Siege, le 15 juillet 1801.jpg
The Signing of the Concordat between France and the Holy See, 15 July 1801. Artist: François Gérard, (1770-1837). Musée National du Château de Versailles, Versailles

Some concordats guarantee the Catholic Church the tax-exempt status of a charity, being by fact the largest charitable institution in the world, either stating this explicitly, as in Brazil (2008, Article 15) [11] and Italy (1984, Article 7.3), [12] or phrasing it indirectly, as in Portugal (2004, art. 12). [13]

When the political will is present, such concordat privileges can be extended by domestic legislation. In 1992 the tax exemption granted the Church by the Italian concordat was interpreted by a law which permits the Catholic Church to avoid paying 90% of what it owes to the state for its commercial activities. [14] Thus, a small shrine within the walls of a cinema, holiday resort, shop, restaurant or hotel is sufficient to confer religious exemption. [15] In June 2007 Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition announced an investigation of this. Then, in August, the deputy finance minister in Romano Prodi's fragile center-left coalition said the issue needed to be tackled in the next year's budget. [16] However, after that nothing more about this was heard from the Barroso Commission and a few months later the Prodi government fell.[ citation needed ]

The Slovak concordat (2000, art. 20.2) ensures that church offertories are "not subject to taxation or to the requirement of public accountability". [17]

This is also the case in Côte d'Ivoire, where far larger sums are involved. The Basilica at Yamoussoukro, is estimated to have cost $300 million, and the additional running expenses for what is the largest church in the world are also shielded from scrutiny by the 1992 concordat concluded with the Ivorian president. Houphouët-Boigny claimed that these funds came from his private fortune. A Vatican official is reported to have called the agreement over the foundation set up to administer these funds "a delicate matter". [18] Nevertheless, this concordat ensures that the foundation's income and assets remain untaxed (art. 9.1), it holds these funds beyond the reach of both criminal and civil law (art. 7.1), it permits this money to be sent out of the country (art. 13.2) and it keeps all the foundation's documents "inviolable", in other words, secret (art. 8). [19]

In Colombia there was a crisis between state and church in 1994 when Attorney-General Gustavo de Greiff accused several bishops of having illegal contacts with the FARC guerrillas. It turned out that under Colombia's concordat with the Holy See, members of the clergy could only be investigated by ecclesiastical courts which are ruled by canon law, and that the bishops were therefore immune from investigation by the civil authorities on what many in Colombia considered to be a serious felony.[ citation needed ]

List

There have been at least several hundred concordats over the centuries. [20] The following is a sortable list of the concordats and other bilateral agreements concluded by the Holy See.

TreatyContracting partyDate of conclusionDate of entering into force
1107 Concordat of London with Henry I ofFlag of England.svg  England 1 Aug 1107
1122 Concordat of Worms between Pope Calixtus II and Henry V of theFlag of the Holy Roman Empire (1200-1350).svg  Holy Roman Empire 23 Sep 1122
1161 Concordat between Pope Alexander III and Géza II ofFlag of Hungary (11th-12th century).svg  Hungary 1161
1169 Concordat between Pope Alexander III and Stephen III ofFlag of Hungary (11th-12th century).svg  Hungary 1169
1210 Parliament of Ravennika between Pope Innocent III and the princes of Frankish Greece May 1210
1277 Concordat of Tonsberg between Jon Raude, Archbishop of Nidaros and Magnus VI ofRoyal Standard of Norway.svg  Norway 1277
1289 Concordat of the Forty Articles PortugueseFlag1248.svg  Portugal 7 March 1289
1418 Concordats of Constance Sinal d'Aragon.svg  Aragon , Royal Banner of the Crown of Castille (Habsburg Style).svg Castile,
Flag of England.svg  England, Pavillon royal de la France.svg  France ,
Heiliges Romisches Reich - Reichssturmfahne vor 1433.svg  Holy Roman Empire,
Flag of the Kingdom of Naples.svg  Naples , Bandera de Reino de Navarra.svg  Navarre ,
PortugueseFlag1385.svg  Portugal, Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland,
Bandiera del Regno di Sicilia 4.svg  Sicily , Flag of the Republic of Venice (Mid-14th century).svg  Venice
21 March 1418
1426 Concordat between Pope Martin V and Charles VII ofPavillon royal de la France.svg  France 1426
Fürsten Konkordat between Pope Eugenius IV and the Princes Electors of theHeiliges Romisches Reich - Reichssturmfahne vor 1433.svg  Holy Roman Empire Jan 1447
1516 Concordat of Bologna between Pope Leo X and King Francis I ofPavillon royal de la France.svg  France Sep 1516
1610 Concordat of Mi'kmaw between Pope Paul V and Grand Chief Henri Membertou ofMikmaq State Flag.svg Mi'kmaw Nation1610 [21]
1753 Concordat of Bologna between Pope Benedict XIV and King Ferdinand VI ofBandera de Espana 1701-1748.svg  Spain 1753
1801 Concordat between Pope Pius VII and Napoléon ofFlag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg  France 15 July 1801
1803 Concordat between Pope Pius VII andFlag of Italy.svg  Italy 16 September 1803 [22] 2 November 1803
1813 Concordat of Fontainebleau between Pope Pius VII and Napoléon ofFlag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg  France 25 Jan. 1813
1817 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Bavaria (striped).svg  Bavaria 5 Jun 1817
1817 Concordat between the Holy See and King Louis XVIII ofFlag of the Kingdom of France (1814-1830).svg  France 11 Jun 1817
1827 Concordat between the Holy See and theFlag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 16 Sep. 1827
1847 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Russia.svg  Russia 3 Aug 1847
1851 Concordat [23] [ unreliable source? ] between the Holy See andFlag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg  Spain 16 Mar 185111 May 1851
1852 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Costa Rica (1848-1906).svg  Costa Rica 7 Oct 1852Dec 1852
1854 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Guatemala (1851-1858).svg  Guatemala 18521854
1855 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg  Austria 18 Aug 1855
1862 Concordat [24] between the Holy See andFlag of El Salvador (1839-1865).svg  El Salvador Apr 1862
1882 Concordat between the Holy See andRomanov Flag.svg  Russia 23 Dec. 1882
1886 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag Portugal (1830).svg  Portugal 23 June 1886
1886 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Montenegro (1905-1918).svg  Montenegro 18 Aug. 1886
1887 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 1887
1914 Concordat [25] between the Holy See andState Flag of Serbia (1882-1918).svg  Serbia 24 June 191420 March 1915 [26]
1922 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Latvia.svg  Latvia 30 May 1922 [27] 3 Nov 1922
1925 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Poland (1919-1928).svg  Poland 10 Feb 1925 [27] 2 Jul 1925
1927 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Romania.svg  Romania 10 May 192729 May 1929 [28]
1927 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Lithuania 1918-1940.svg  Lithuania 27 Sep 1927 [29]
1928 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 5 May 1928
1929 Lateran Treaty [30] between the Holy See andFlag of Italy (1861-1946).svg  Italy 11 Feb 19297 Jun 1929
1929 Prussian Concordat between the Holy See and Flag of Prussia (1918-1933).svg Prussian Free State 14 July 1929
1933 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Austria.svg  Austria 5 June 1933
1933 Reichskonkordat between the Holy See and Flag of Germany (1933-1935).svg Germany 20 Jul 1933
1940 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 7 May 1940
1953 Concordat [31] [32] between the Holy See andFlag of Spain (1945-1977).svg  Spain 27 Aug 195327 Oct 1953
1954 Concordat [33] [34] between the Holy See andFlag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic 16 June 1954
1993 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Poland.svg  Poland 28 Jul 199325 Apr 1998
1993 Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See andFlag of Israel.svg  Israel 30 Dec 199310 Mar 1994
1996 Agreements between the Holy See andFlag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 18 Dec 1996 [35] [36] [37] 11 [35] [36] and 25 Feb 1997 [37]
1997 Agreement between the Holy See andFlag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 20 June 1997 [38] 3 April 1998
1997 Legal Personality Agreement [39] between the Holy See the State ofFlag of Israel.svg  Israel 10 Nov 1997
1998 Agreement between the Holy See andFlag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 9 Oct 1998 [40] 30 Dec 1998 [40]
2000 Basic Agreement [41] between the Holy See andFlag of Palestine.svg  Palestine 15 February 200015 February 2000
2000 Agreement [42] between the Holy See andFlag of Latvia.svg  Latvia 8 November 200025 October 2002
2004 Treaty between the Holy See andFlag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia 13 May 20049 Jul 2004 [43]
2004 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 18 May 2004
2004 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia 28 May 2004
Basic Agreement [44] between the Holy See andFlag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 19 Apr 200625 Oct 2007
2008 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 13 Nov 2008
2009 Concordat between the Holy See andFlag of Schleswig-Holstein.svg  Schleswig-Holstein 12 Jan 2009
2015 Comprehensive agreement [45] between the Holy See andFlag of Palestine.svg  Palestine 26 Jun 2015 [46] 2 Jan 2016 [47]
2016 Framework agreement on matters of mutual interest between the Holy See andFlag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg  Democratic Republic of Congo 20 May 2016
2016 Framework agreement on matters of mutual interest between the Holy See andFlag of the Central African Republic.svg  Central African Republic 8 Sep 2016
2016 Framework agreement regarding the legal status of the Catholic Church between the Holy See andFlag of Benin.svg  Benin 22 Oct 2016

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Bibliography