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The case of the Catholic Church

For the Catholic Church, Church-State relations are governed, aside from the Constitution and the LOLR, by the agreements concluded with the Vatican between 1976 and 1979. Their main goals are to ensure that relations between the Holy See and Spain are in line with the tendencies of Vatican II and that they meet the desire for more independence and mutual freedom and initiate a new model of relations in Spain.
The Catholic Church enjoys extensive organisational freedom. Nominating bishops falls within the exclusive competence of the Holy See. The competence of Church courts is exclusive for crimes that only violate ecclesiastical law in accordance with canon law and such sentences cannot be appealed before the civil authorities. The agreement permits, even more explicitly, the Church to organise itself freely. This means it can modify the dioceses, put an end to or set up religious orders. It also authorises, among other things, the complete promulgation of the Holy See’s opinions and any communication with it. This is quite far from the Concordat system of 1953 and more generally from any form of Gallicansim, just like Regalism which left its mark on Spain’s history.

D 13 September 2012    AClaude Proeschel

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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