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Legal relations between the Church and State

Today, the legal relations between Churches and State in Spain rely on three major principles that were set out in the Constitution of 27 December 1978.

The first is the religious neutrality (aconfesionalidad) of the State: Spain has no official religion.

The second is religious freedom, set forth in article 16, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the constitution:
1. Freedom of ideology, religion and worship of individuals and communities is guaranteed, with no other restriction on their expression as may be necessary to maintain public order as protected by law.
2. Nobody may be compelled to make statements regarding his religion, beliefs or ideologies.
The third principle is the possibility of cooperation between the State, Churches, religions and religious communities, which is equivalent to an official recognition of religion and can therefore not be assimilated with a separatist logic. This principle is set out in article 16, paragraph 3 of the Constitution:
3. There shall be no State religion. The public authorities shall take the religious beliefs of Spanish society into account and shall in consequence maintain appropriate co-operation with the Catholic Church and the other confessions.

The third principle is equality among every Spanish citizen, regardless of his/her religious affiliation.

Voir IBÁN Iván C., "State and Church in Spain", in ROBBERS Gerhard (ed.), State and Church in the European Union, Third ed., Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2019, p. 195-212.

D 13 September 2012    AClaude Proeschel

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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