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A concordat is an agreement between the Holy See and the government of a country on religious matters This often included both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country. Privileges might include 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. A different model of relations between the Vatican and various states is still evolving (see e.g. Petkoff 2007) in the wake of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae.



President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil did not sign a concordat during the Pope Benedict XVI visit to Brazil in 2007, as the pontiff hoped. The principle of separation of church and state was the claimed reason for disagreement between the parties. Nevertheless, in the following year, Lula did sign it. According to its critics, the Brazilian concordat gives important privileges to the Catholic Church and the media is boycotting the matter. The treaty is now pending ratification in the Congress as the Catholic Church is rushing the Congress into approval.

Concordat Watch[1] is a website supporting separation of church and state where opponents of condordats exchange information.[2].



  1. ^ Concordat Watch
  2. ^ For example, Concordat Watch is cited as a source in Plichtová and Petrjánošová (2008, p.46, 50), and in DiMarco (2009, p.5).


  • DiMarco, Erica (2009). "The tides of Vatican influence in Italian reproductive matters: from abortion to assisted reproduction." Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 10 (2) Spring. Available online.
  • Hughes, John Jay (1974). "The Reich Concordat 1933: Capitulation or Compromise?" Australian Journal of Politics & History, 20 (2), pp. 164-175.
  • Petkoff, Peter (2007). "Legal perspectives and religious perspectives of religious rights under international law in the Vatican Concordats (1963-2004)." Law and Justice: the Christian law review, 158, p. 30- online (payment may be required).
  • Plichtová, Jana and Petrjánošová, Magda (2008). "Freedom of religion, institution of conscientious objection and political practice in post-communist Slovakia." Human Affairs, 18 (1), June, pp. 37-51. Available online here.

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