24 April 2023

What is a concordat? – Learn the characteristics of the concordat

By Donald

The concordat is one of the oldest agreements within international treaties, since the church has always sought agreements to establish relations with other countries. In this article, it is explained what is a concordat and what are its characteristics. In the same way, some of the most important concordats in history are mentioned, including those of Spain.

What is a concordat?

The Catholic Church has great global importance, as it represents the religion with the most believers in the world. Thus, the Vatican and the Holy See have a lot of power, recognition, as well as the respect of the rest of the nations. In that sense, when it comes to relationships, the Vatican considers itself as a country. For what you can reach international treaties or agreements with the rest of the states, a practice that has been carried out since feudalism and is maintained today.

A concordat is an agreement that the Holy See enters into with any other country or state in the world. This is signed after carrying out a process of negotiations related to the catholic church and christianity. It is an agreement that is part of international treaties, since two or more countries are involved.

The word concordat comes from the Latin language, where the original term was concordatum, which translates as agreed in harmony. In turn, this derived in the verb concordare, which is the action of reaching said pact. Therefore, it refers to a peace agreement and good relations between the participants.

What is the concordat of the Catholic Church?

In the history of the Catholic Church, the concordat is a frequent practice when there is a dispute or conflict with a country. Therefore, the highest representative of the Holy See, that is, the Pope, enters into negotiations with the president of said State. In general, documents of a nature are treated legal, territorial or religious.

In this sense, many of the concordats sought the right to a part of the money who enters the catholic church. Others had the purpose of giving the authority to a certain representative to choose the authorities of the church. However, a large part of these international treaties were signed when a country wanted to distance itself from the Holy See, either to impose another religion or for other purposes.

What are the characteristics of the concordat?

Most of the countries have an agreement with the Holy Catholic Church and many of them are still in force. Therefore, this State remains with Good relations internationally, however, there are only a few agreements that are considered concordats. These are the most important for the international relations of the Vatican.

Now, there are certain countries that do not exercise this diplomacy with the Catholic Church, so they do not maintain any relationship. Among them are North Korea, China, Burma, Laos, Oman and Afghanistan. Similarly, there are Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Mauritania and Malaysia.

  • It is considered as one more document within the international dealssince it involves two or more countries.
  • The wording of the articles or agreements is judged following the laws of the international right.
  • It is a peace treaty that seeks integration of a state In the catholic church.
  • It can allow concessions to the president of a country to dispose of the resources of the church in its territory. It can also give you the power of decision over some members of the church.
  • The Holy See usually receives economic income and support in the construction or repair of its works.
  • In some cases, permission was granted for certain members of the clergy to have the right to conscientious objection. That is, the possibility of not abiding by a law.

Concordat Examples

One of the first concordats was signed in the year 1122, where peace was sought with the Holy Roman Emperor. There, Pope Callistus II intended to break the call investiture complaint. While, in 1448, the Holy See improves its relations with the Habsburg house by reaching the Vienna Concordat.

The Bologna Concordat was an agreement between Francis I, King of France, and Pope Leo X, where he was given authority over a part of the tithe to the French monarch. In later times, Pope Pius VII came to terms with Napoleon Bonaparte, while Pius IX had relations with Franz Joseph of Austria. Years later, several European powers united taking inspiration from these treaties to create the Holy Alliance.

The Holy See has agreements and concordats with many leaders, including the most radical politicians. In this sense, in the Reich concordat, the then Chancellor Adolf Hitler he sought to renew previous agreements Germany had with the church. Benito Mussolini is also on this list. However, the longest and strongest negotiations were held with Francisco Franco.

During the Second Spanish Republic there was a separation between the church and Spain, since the latter considered themselves secular. Then, Franco tried to resume relations, so many meetings were held. The final agreement included the new power of the dictator of Spain to vote in the appointment of bishops.