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La République tchécoslovaque et l’Etat militaire slovaque

The creation of the independent Czechoslovak Republic was connected with a dynamic development of church conditions as well as hidden and open conflicts between the state and churches. Though, it did not bring any significant changes in legislature. The attitude of the state towards churches practically did not change. Also, the conception of recognized and recipated religions as public entities remained unchanged.
The issue of separation and related complicated questions of the constitutional resolution of state-church relationship in 1918 – 1920 was one of the most complex problems within the initial political-legal state development. Even though, neither the temporary constitution from 1918, nor its amendment from 1919 did eventually touch the subject of religious issues.
The then legal law provided certain advantages to recipated and recognized churches within the scope of tax and seizure or debt enforcement law. The priests of the recognized and recipated churches were provided a congrua or a donation. The Congrua law cancelled the “stole fee”, rewards and other payments provided to clergy according to former regulations, but it did not touch the others, so-called local incomes. The same law designated also the pension for priests and their bereaved according to analogy of pension regulations valid for state employees. The state treated priests as public officers, as long as they provided state administration services of contracting the marriages, running the birth and death records, teaching religion at all general educational schools and solving the issues of administrative and political character.
After the creation of the independent Czechoslovak Republic, “Modus Vivendi” was passed in 1928 – an agreement between Czechoslovakia and the Holy See, which guaranteed mutual respect of the forthcoming partners. Even though, compared to the former period, the mutual relationship between the state and church did not change significantly.
Among the most burdensome periods of Slovak history is the era of the military Slovak state. It was created on March 14, 1939 as Hitler’s satellite. In the preamble of its constitution it defined itself as a Christian state. Jozef Tiso, a Catholic priest became its president. The parliament of the Slovak republic was by one fifth comprised of clergy. On March 25, 1939 the Holy See acknowledged the Slovak Republic as well. Slovak government naturally placed remarkable importance to this act. Diplomatic relations between the two states were established in June 1939. Though, they cooled off almost instantly when a German ambassador became the Doyen of diplomatic corps in the Slovak Republic. Pope Pio XII had this to say about it : “We had been considering whether or not to send a nuncios to Slovakia. After neglecting the traditional rights of the Holy See it will no longer be possible.” Complicated diplomatic relations of the Christian Slovak Republic (whose president was a Catholic priest) and the Holy See were cold already at the beginning and gradually got worse. After the Jewish Codex was passed and the anti-Hitler Banská Bystrica uprising suppressed, the Holy See sent several protest notes to president Tiso. Vatican nuncios Burzio let himself heard that president Tiso raised disgust especially in Slovak episcopacy and monkhood. The era of the military Slovak state and the attitude of president Tiso towards “solving the Jewish issue” is one of the most difficult issues within Slovak history. Up to nowadays it influences the emotions of especially (but not only) the older generation. When it comes to current preference of political parties and elites, their attitude towards this era in Slovak history is employed. Particularly nationally oriented political groups interpret this period as an effort of Tiso and his co-workers to protect Slovak nation and territory.

D 3 octobre 2012    AMichaela Moravcikova

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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