A concordat usually refers to an agreement between the Apostolic See and a government of a certain country on religious matters, although it is also used in relation to some other agreements in internal United Kingdom and others counties' politics.

Papal concordat

This often included both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country. Privileges might include the right to have Catholic schools, exemptions from certain legal matters and processes, and issues such as taxation as well as the right of a state to influence the selection of bishops within its territory. Although for a time after the Second Vatican Council, which ended in 1965, the term 'concordat' was dropped, it reappeared with the Polish Concordat of 1993 and the Portuguese Concordat of 2004.

The Vatican has been particularly vocal on issues of abortion in Ireland and Portugal, and in attempting to ensure references to Christianity in the prospective EU constitution. Less high profile are agreements concerning taxation and partial state funding of Catholic owned institutions such as orphanages, homes for the elderly and hospices for those suffering from AIDS.

A different model of relations between the Vatican and various states is still evolving in the wake of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae.

United Kingdom

The term is also used for agreements setting out the framework for co-operation between United Kingdom government departments and the Scottish Government and the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales: for examples see DEFRA. In other jurisdictions such as Australia and the United States, the term Memorandum of Understanding, often just MOU, is more prevalent.

List of concordats


Secularists criticise concordats as being an infringement of human rights

President Luiz Inácio da Silva of Brazil did not sign a concordat with the Vatican as was hoped by pope Joseph Ratzinger during his visit to Brazil in 2007. The principle of separation of church and state was the basic reason for the desagreement between the parts. Usually Brazil is considered the largest catholic country/population in the world, unofficially however many fallow other creeds or do not live religious lives except nominaly.

External sources


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