Canton of Zug: Parliamentary Motion Calls for Repeal of Concordat with Holy See

Source: FSSPX News

Zug Cantonal Council

The Canton of Zug is one of 26 Swiss cantons. It is the smallest in area, with the exception of the two half-cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Basel-Stadt. However, it occupies first place by wealth, because it plays the role of a tax haven within the Confederation.

However, it was to the Cantonal Council – the canton’s parliament – ​​that a parliamentary motion was proposed to abrogate the concordat of 1828 with the Holy See, for financial reasons. The proposal was made by three deputies belonging respectively to the Greens, the Socialist Party, and the Liberal Greens, the three parties with the smallest number of deputies in this Council.

The Concordat of 1828

It should be recalled – for those who are not Swiss – that Switzerland is a Confederation and that each canton is a state, certainly limited in its prerogatives, but which has the capacity to sign an international treaty such as a concordat. In addition, the Swiss constitution dates from 1848, and therefore postdates the Zug concordat.

This concordat was made between the Holy See and the cantons of Solothurn, Lucerne, Bern – the current canton of Jura – and Zug. It defined the new territory of the diocese of Basel bringing together the parishes of these four cantons. The treaty provides that the canton of Zug covers the emoluments of a resident canon and a direct contribution to the bishopric of Basel.

A Concern for Impartiality?

The reason given by the parliamentarians is the decrease in the number of Catholics: “We have a Catholic tradition in the canton of Zug, but it is not acceptable for taxpayers to pay the salary of the canon and the bishop,” declared Luzian Franzini (Greens).

Especially, he explains, since 57% of the population are no longer Catholic. The motion therefore notes that the financing of the bishop and the canon by public funds is “increasingly anachronistic.”

Finally, the authors of the motion criticize the fact that the diocese of Basel has not been sufficiently “reformed” and that its current bishop, Félix Gmür, has made errors with regard to abuse procedures.

This motion will, however, have to go through several tests: first a vote by parliament to be transmitted to the government. However, the majority parties (The Center, UDC, PLR) are probably not ready to do this. 

Then, saying that 57% of the canton's population is no longer Catholic is a way of saying that 43% of the people of Zug do profess the Catholic Faith and pay the corresponding ecclesiastical taxes. 

Finally, the parliamentarians who made such a motion should know that a concordat is an international treaty which cannot be denounced unilaterally. Breaking such a treaty is considered a violation of the most basic law. Not to mention the final considerations which judge the way in which the Church of Basel is led by its bishop.

Ultimately, this motion is a very poor political maneuver which only reveals an antagonism of the authors towards the Church.