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Nouvelles règles sur la protection des données personnelles dans l’Église catholique

May 2018 : New rules on the protection of personal data in the Catholic Church

After the recognitio (official approval of the Holy See), on 30 of April 2018, the Dekret ogólny w sprawie ochrony osób fizycznych w związku z przetwarzaniem danych osobowych w Kościele katolickim [General Decree on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data in the Catholic Church], which the Polish Bishops’ Conference adopted on 13 of March 2018, during the 378th Plenary Assembly, was legally promulgated.

Until now, the rules on the protection of personal data in the Catholic Church were included in many different documents (instrukcja Konferencji Episkopatu Polski z 1947 r. o prowadzeniu ksiąg parafialnych ochrzczonych, bierzmowanych, małżeństw i zmarłych oraz księgi stanu dusz ; „Zasady postępowania w sprawie formalnego aktu wystąpienia z Kościoła”, amended by „Dekret Ogólny Konferencji Episkopatu Polski w sprawie wystąpień z Kościoła oraz powrotu do wspólnoty Kościoła”, came into force from 19 February 2016).

The Code of Canon Law of 1983 also highlighted the general standard of the protection of personal data “Canon 220. No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy”.

The General Decree on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data in the Catholic Church [hereafter The General Decree] aims to adapt the existing rules in the Church on the protection of individuals in connection with the processing of their personal data to the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and the repeal of Directive 95/46 / EC, which will be applied from 25 May 2018.

The art. 91 of the General Data Protection Regulation EU provides that :

1. Where in a Member State, churches and religious associations or communities apply, at the time of entry into force of this Regulation, comprehensive rules relating to the protection of natural persons with regard to processing, such rules may continue to apply, provided that they are brought into line with this Regulation.

The next paragraph points out that churches and religious associations that apply specific rules adapted to the General Data Protection Regulation (Chapter VI of this Regulation) may be subject to the supervision of a separate, independent supervisory body. The General Decree established the Church Data Protection Supervisor as an independent inspection body. On 2 May of 2018 Rev. Prof. Piotr Kroczek was elected to the duties of the Church Personal Data Inspector.

The General Decree of the Polish Bishops’ Conference was prepared by the team of experts appointed by the bishops. One of the experts of the Polish Bishops’ Conference clearly expressed that : “this General Decree creates autonomous personal data protection system used by the Catholic Church. This system in my opinion seems to be in line with art. 91 General Data Protection Regulation, as well as the provisions of the Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of Eastern Churches”.

The provisions of the General Decree set up general rules and standards on protection of processing personal data in the Catholic Church : obligation to inform about processing of data, right to request the correction of data or to annotate, complete, as well as to limit the processing.

Generally, the Catholic Church keeps a wide range of personal data of the members and non-members. The specific role of this General Decree is to protect the right to be forgotten. This right will be limited according to whether the information is about the sacraments, or if the data refers to the canonical status of the person. However, it will be possible to be in line with the right to be forgotten, which will oblige the Catholic Church not to use such data without the consent of the bishop or another higher religious organ.

28 juin 2018