Concordat on the armed forces (2002) text
The military is a closed society with an authoritarian structure, a good setting for proselytising, as the Evangelicals have also found in the US Air Force. Military chaplains, originally employed to pray for victory, are regarded by the Church as important enough to be the subject of whole concordats. On the basis of this treaty, an ordinariate of the military and police was created on the level of a diocese, and an ordinary on the level of a bishop was appointed.
Note from the translator, Prof. em. Alexander Rehák :
"In the former Slovak Communist regime the red party membership card was necessary for higher positions, but in the increasingly religiously-controlled regime which has followed, the requirement is becoming strict piety. Under the Communists party members were found in every kind of public office, and especially the armed forces: in Slovakia today the same can be said of Ultra-Catholics. This is because in every country the military and police are extremely sensitive parts of government. Thus establishing chaplaincies in the Armed Forces and Police Units means more than providing 'pastoral care' to the faithful: it also ensures a ramified intelligence service within them."
Treaty between the Slovak Republic and the Holy See on pastoral care for Catholic believers in the armed forces and armed units of the Slovak Republic
[signed 21.08.2002, ratified 28.10.2002]
The Slovak Republic, recognising its duty to secure proper conditions for a permanent and adequate pastoral care for the Catholic believers within the armed forces of the Slovak Republic, the Police Units, the Unit of Penitentiary Guards, the Railway Guards (further: “Armed Forces and Armed Units”), as well as for convicts sentenced by decision of a state authority,
and the Holy See, recognising the peculiar conditions of life and the need for a special form of pastoral care for the members of the Armed Forces and Armed Units, as well as for individuals deprived of their freedom by decision of a state authority,
proceeding from the Basic Treaty between the Slovak Republic and the Holy See signed at Vatican on November 24, 2000 ( further “Basic Treaty”),
agreed as follows:
(1) The Holy See will establish an Ordinariate for the Armed Forces and Armed Units (further: “Ordinariate”) designed for the pastoral care of Catholic believers in the Armed Forces and Armed Units of the Slovak Republic and for persons deprived of their freedom by a decision of the state authority (further: “pastoral care”).
(2) The Ordinariate has a status of a diocese consistent with the Apostolic Constitution, Spirituali militum curae, and is simultaneously a special institution within the structure of the armed forces and the armed units. The Ordinariate enjoys the status of a legal entity in Canon Law. The Ordinariate is a legal entity according to the legal regulations of the Slovak Republic.
(3) The activity of the Ordinariate conforms to Canon Law, the Apostolic Constitution, Spirituali militum curae, with this Treaty, as well as with the legal regulations of the Slovak Republic.
(1) An Ordinary is in charge of the Ordinariate for the Armed Forces and Armed Units (further: “Ordinary”). The Ordinary is a member of the Bishop’s Conference of Slovakia and is integrated in the body of the armed forces of the Slovak Republic. The seat of the Ordinariate is in Bratislava.
(2) The nomination of the Ordinary is the exclusive right of the Holy See.
(3) The powers of the Ordinary consistent with the Canon Law are personal, regular, virtual and cumulative with the powers of a local Ordinary.
(4) The Ordinary is authorised to communicate freely with priests, deacons, monks, students at seminaries (further: “Clerics”) and with all others performing pastoral care. He controls, upholds, and checks up their activities in accordance with the law governing the protection of classified information.
In accordance with Canon Law, the Catholic believers who are under the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate are:
a.) members and employees of the Armed Forces and Armed Units, as well as the bodies of the state administration incorporated in them,
b.) their dependants, namely their married partners, children, including those off age living in the same household, as well as the relatives living in the same household,
c.) students and those attending schools of the armed forces, patients and the staff of health and social care institutions belonging to these bodies of the state administration,
d.) all Catholic believers nominated or approved by the Ordinary for a permanent service in accordance with Canon Law as it relates to the Ordinariate,
e.) persons serving their terms of imprisonment, in custody, or detainees.
(1) The Ordinary is helped in his activities in accordance with Canon Law by the General Vicar, other Vicars, priests and deacons.
(2) The Ordinary at selecting the General Vicar and the other Vicars, as well as the priests and deacons for the pastoral care in his Ordinariate decides independently and exclusively. He decides on the nomination, transfer, removal from the service, and revocation in accordance with Canon Law.
(1) The Diocesan Bishops and the higher dignitaries at institutions of ministerial and apostolic life will assign for the needs of the Ordinariate an adequate number of Clerics.. Diocesan Clerics can be inaugurated in the Ordinariate in accordance with Canon Law.
(2) In case of need, the Ordinary has the right, after agreement with the Diocesan bishop or with other dignitaries of institutions for ministerial and apostolic life, to assign their subordinate Clerics for a temporary or occasional assistance in the Ordinariate in accordance with Canon Law and in line with the legal regulations of the Slovak Republic.
Clerics have the right to serve their military duty and equivalent civilian service in the form of pastoral care in the armed forces.
(1) The priests and the deacons permanently authorised to provide pastoral care in the Ordinariate have certain rights and duties, which have been outlined by Canon Law for diocesan ministers and deacons, and they assume the position of employees within the relevant unit of the Armed Forces and Armed Units.
(2) Clerics who provide pastoral care in the Armed Forces and Armed Units have the right to freely communicate with the head of the Ordinariate in accordance with laws governing the protection of classified topics.
(1) The pastoral care and performance of religious ceremonies are a part of the duties performed by the priests and deacons belonging to the Ordinariate.
(2) The priests and deacons deliver pastoral care only according to liturgical and canonical regulations.
(1) If some cleric authorised to administer pastoral care is to be subject, during his service to a disciplinary punishment, which was not of a canonical nature, his superior in the armed forces or armed units will punish him after a prior agreement with the Ordinary.
(2) The Ordinary will inform his superior in the Armed Forces or Armed Units about the canonical punishments for a Cleric, so that he may take the necessary steps.
(1.) The Slovak Republic will secure the funding and material needs of clerics working under the Ordinary, according the laws of the Slovak Republic.
(2.) The Slovak Republic will provide financially and materially for the activity for the Ordinariate in the armed forces, for the seat of the Ordinariate, for a church, for a residence for the Ordinary, and for proper places of worship.
The Statute of the Ordinariate, drawn up by the Ordinary and published by the Holy See outlines in detail the Ordinariate’s activity, which is in accordance with the legal order of the Slovak Republic and the principles of this Treaty.
The Slovak Republic and the Holy See (further: “Contracting Parties”) pledge to resolve through mutual consultation any discrepancies arising in the course of interpreting and implementing this Treaty.
This Treaty can be changed and complemented on the basis of mutual agreement of contracting parties. Changes and additions must be made in written form.
(1.) This Treaty is subject to ratification and comes into force the thirtieth day after the exchange of the ratification documents.
(2.) This Treaty has been concluded for an indefinite time and its force will come to end with the termination of Basic Treaty’s validity.
Signed on August 21, 2002 at Bratislava in two original versions, in the Slovak and Italian languages, both of which are authentic.
On behalf of the Slovak Republic
On behalf of the Holy See
Mons. Henryk Józef Nowacki
Zmluva medzi Slovenskou republikou a Svätou stolicou
o duchovnej službe katolíckym veriacim v ozbrojených silách
a ozbrojených zboroch Slovenskej republiky
Accordo tra la Santa Sede e la Repubblica Slovacca
circa l’assistenza religiosa ai fedeli cattolici nelle Forze Armate
e nei Corpi Armati della Repubblica Slovacca (21 agosto 2002)
Translated from the Slovak original by Dr. Alexander Rehák