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Law on the Order of Precedence of the Protocol of the Portuguese State

Since 2006, Portugal has a law on the Order of Precedence of the Protocol of the Portuguese State. In fact, law 40/2006 is the first Portuguese law determining the protocol of the State. The list of precedence includes 58 entities but excludes religious authorities. The Portuguese Law on Religious Freedom in its article 3, on the principle of separation, and the Portuguese Constitution, in article 41/4, declare the separation between state and religion. Thus Churches and other religious institutions had to be excluded from the state’s protocol list.

However, law 40/2006 determines, in section 4, on “other dignitaries”, that religious authorities, when invited, should be treated appropriately, considering their dignity and representativeness. In effect, article 38 (on religious authorities) states that “when invited to official ceremonies, religious authorities are accorded the treatment appropriate to the dignity and representativeness of the duties that they carry out; they are ranked according to their respective representation in Portuguese society”. This subjective criterion may allow in practice a religious dignitary to have precedence over another dignitary listed in the protocol.

D 26 February 2018    AJorge Botelho Moniz

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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