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Funding places of worship

Article 19 of the Law of 1905, which prohibits subsidies for religious associations, does however provide for sums allocated to repair buildings used for public worship not to be considered as subsidies, whether or not the former are classified as historic monuments.

The Law of 29 July 1961 (Articles L. 2252-4 and L. 3231-5 of the General Local Authorities Code) also enables public authorities to guarantee loans contracted by religious organisations in order to finance the construction of places of worship in developing conurbations. Public aid can also take the form of emphyteutic leases (Article L.451-1 of the Rural Code) for the construction of a place of worship on the private domain of the local authority owner: the land is thus placed at the disposal of the association (religious or not) via a long term lease, at the end of which the building becomes the property of the local community. More recently, the Order of 21 April 2006 (Article L. 1311-2 CGCT) opened up the possibility of resorting to the administrative emphyteutic lease “in order to assign a building of worship open to the public to a religious organisation”, within the public domain of local authorities.

The Ministry of Interior issued a summary document in 2016: Gestion et construction des lieux de culte, guide pratique (Management and construction of places of worship, practical guide).

D 15 April 2016    AAnne Fornerod

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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