New concordat between the Holy See and Portugal

Source: FSSPX News


On December 8, the secretary of the Holy See for relations with States, Mgr. Giovanni Lajolo, paid a visit to Lisbon for the ratification of a new concordat, signed at the Vatican on May 18 last. In his official speech, Mgr. Lajolo affirmed that the “freedom of the Church” and the “cooperation” of the Church with the Portuguese state, in the field of education and charitable works were the “two major principles” which “inspire these new concordat norms.”

 Of these new norms, the Vatican diplomat cited “the exclusive power of the Holy See in the nomination of bishops,” “religious Catholic aid” – through the military chaplains – to the Portuguese armed forces, “the financing of Church activities” and the financial support of bishops and priests, and also “the norms which govern the sensitive regulation of canonical marriage, and their effects relating to civil matters.”

 Mgr. Lajolo was equally pleased with the accord as regards the “teaching of Catholic religion and morals in public schools” as well as the collaboration between Church and State “for the safeguard of the cultural patrimony”, which is “one of the typical clauses of contemporary concordats”. Finally, this treaty also provides for the setting up of a joint commission whose role will be to “promote the interpretation and the satisfactory enforcement of its measures.”

 The new concordat which reforms the previous one, signed in 1940, “regulates the legal position of the Catholic Church and her institutions,” affirmed a communiqué published by the Holy See during its signature at the Vatican, on May 18, by Cardinal Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano and the Portuguese Prime Minister, José Manuel Durao Barroso. “The State thus guarantees to the Church free and public exercise of her activities, in particular those which concern worship, the Magisterium and Ministry, but also jurisdiction in ecclesiastical matters.” And in the true spirit of Vatican II, this concordat “recognizes moreover, religious freedom, particularly in the domain of the conscience, of worship, of meetings and associations, public expression, teaching and charitable activities.”