Monday, 25 April 2011

The 1953 Concordat with Spain

The 1953 Concordat with Spain was the last of the classic Concordats of the Catholic Church.  It provides a fairly good, if somewhat late, example of Counter-Enlightenment Catholic thought applied in the political sphere.

The principal benefit bestowed on the Franco regime by the Concordat (other than the general sense of legitimacy that it conferred) was the continuing right to appoint Spanish bishops, a privilege which had originally belonged to the Spanish kings.

The other main provisions of the Concordat were as follows:
•  Catholicism would be "the sole religion of the Spanish State".
•  The state would pay annual grants for the upkeep of the Spanish church, and church institutions were to be exempt from taxation.
•  Churches and other religious buildings would be exempt from civil jurisdiction, and state agents could not enter them without the permission of the church authorities.  Senior clerics could not be taken to court without the permission of the Holy See.  Clergy and religious who were sentenced to imprisonment would serve their sentences in a church or religious house.
•  The state would grant civil recognition to all "sentences, administrative decisions and decrees emanating from Church authorities".
•  Radio and TV channels would "give a proper position to the exposition and defence of the true religion by designated priests and religious".  The bishops would be able to require the censorship of publications that were contrary to Catholic doctrine and morality.
•  All educational establishments, both public and private, would conform in their teaching to Catholic doctrine and morality.
•  The state would grant civil recognition to Catholic marriages and would comply with the requirements of canon law in relation to mixed marriages of Catholics and non-Catholics.
•  Clerics and religious would not be required to "undertake public duties or functions that, under Canon Law, would be incompatible with their positions".  Specifically, they would be exempt from military service.
•  The state would recognise Catholic holidays.