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Concordat Watch - Poland - content area

Getting a concordat by hook or by crook*

It took ten years of planning, three papal visits and numerous legislative tricks, but in 1998 the Vatican finally managed to get the Polish concordat ratified. After that, a Declaration was attached to Poland's Accession Treaty to protect the concordat from EU human rights legislation.

It's now known that top clerics co-operated secretly with the Communist regime of the People's Republic of Poland. [1] The relatively favoured place of the Polish Church under Communism let the Church prevent the collectivisation carried out in many other Communist countries. [2] Thus the clusters of small farms were preserved where the village priests held sway.

[Even] during communism in Poland, the Catholic Church, in spite of numerous abridgements, enjoyed some level of autonomy, especially in comparison with other countries under Soviet domination. [...] During that time, the Church was the only institution that could openly criticize the Communist government. [3]

Today Catholicism is openly associated with Polish nationalism. It’s been said that in contemporary Poland there must be as many statues of John Paul II as there once were of Lenin. [4] (And even where there’s no room for a statue, a picture can often be tucked in, as in this registry office in Brzesk.)

The secret Communist “concordat” of 1988

While Poland remained part of the Communist empire its formal relations with the Vatican were restricted to the pragmatic Modus vivendi of 1950. Concordats were prohibited by the country's 1952 Constitution, the first Polish Constitution to guarantee church-state separation and equal recognition of all denominations.

82.2 The Church shall be separate from the State. The principles of the relationship between State and Church, and the legal and property rights of religious organisations shall be defined by laws [i.e., not by “international treaties” such as concordats].

As Poles quipped at the time: “The Constitution is excellent ― a pity it’s so rarely applied”. And that turned out to be the case here. In spite of the clear position of the Constitution, there had been secret plans drawn up for a “Convention” which was the Communists’ tactful term for a “Concordat” (and Napoleon’s, as well). In 1988 this was signed by both sides. 

“Treaties must be kept” — unless the Vatican wants out

However, the very next year Communism collapsed and the Church scrapped the Convention, suspecting that it could soon get a real concordat.

 Before [the collapse of Communism in] 1989 the talks with the Vatican led to the creation of two documents: 1) "On the Relationship between the State and the Catholic Church", which was approved by the Sejm in May 1989 [one of Rakowski's "May Laws"] and 2) the Convention, which was intended to enter into force simultaneously with the Act. However, the political turbulence of ’89 created the conditions for the Church to withdraw from the previously agreed Convention. The basic argument ― which the bishops used at the time ― for rejecting the agreed text were the socio-political changes, to which the Church "wished" to adapt. With this, the Convention was regarded as void.

(Note [this disregard for] the principle of Pacta sunt servanda (Treaties must be kept), which was so often invoked by the concordat advocates during the legislative work in the Sejm [in 1993-1998] on a statute which would allow the President to ratify it. [5] It was suggested [by these advocates] that the state would bear guilt [for violating a treaty] if the Concordat of 28 July 1993 did not enter into force.

In 1991, after his installation in Poland, the Vatican ambassador, Nuncio J. Kowalczyk, informed the public about the resumption of talks on the agreement with the Vatican. The Nuncio purported to bring from the Vatican a proposal for normalising relations between Poland and the Holy See, however this was only part of the truth. In actual fact, the discussions and negotiations were not resumed, but started from the beginning. The Church was responsible for the lost time and for considering the Convention of 4 May 1988 to be void, because it regarded the already signed document as non-existent and incompatible with the new realities, thus disregarding the principle of Pacta sunt servanda.

Secret draft

The talks were strange, as no one ― apart from the members of the Government delegation made of exclusively of Catholics ― could get access to the convention draft. Even MPs couldn't see it, [even though they were the ones] who, after the signing of the concordat, with no possibility of any amendment of its terms, had to agree to the ratification of the document! Nor did the lay Catholics have any knowledge of its contents, despite the fact that this document was to directly influence their lives. [6] 

Rakowski's pre-election deal: an unofficial concordat

The first part of the manoeuvre was to give the Catholic Church privileges that were still within the constitutional order. In the last month of the Communist regime, in preparation for the elections of 4 June 1989, the legal landscape was changed in favour of the Roman Catholic Church. On 17 May 1989 a most unusual law on church-state relations was brought in. [7] This Law on the relationship between the State and the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of Polandbestowed a number of classic concordat privileges. [8] These included granting Church organisations the status of legal persons and also various tax exemptions. [9] Its Article 62 set up the framework for the Property Commission, whose "compensation" to the Catholic Church cannot be challenged in the courts. (See more here.)

Mieczyslaw Rakowski spent the 1980s juggling conflicting demands. On the one hand was his belief that reform was necessary to keep mounting dissent from ending in a bloodbath, on the other, his conviction that too much liberalisation would invite a Russian invasion. [10] In 1989, as the leader (First Secretary) of the Communist Party, he was caught in a situation that demanded accommodation to Church demands. He was facing the Communist bloc's first partially-free elections and understood that the repercussions of a Communist defeat at the polls would extend far beyond the borders of the country. The election results were disastrous: only one seat in the whole country was won by a Communist candidate. As Rakowksi said following day:

What has happened in Poland is going to have tremendous impact outside (USSR, Hungary, others). This may lead to upheavals in the whole camp [...] [11]

The high stakes would explain the remarkable concessions to the Church that his government made in the Law about relations with the Catholic Church only weeks before the fateful 1989 elections on the 4th and 18th of June. And it would also explain the bitterness expressed the day after the election when it was clear how the Church had repaid the regime. As Central Committee member, Zygmunt Czarzasty, noted: “The clergy, particularly on election day, were calling to vote for S.”, that is to say, for the opposition Solidarity and not the Communists who had granted them so much. Another prominent Central Committee member, Stanisław Ciosek, advised “urgent talks with the opposition and with the Church. Guilt is on our side. We trusted the Church, and they have turned out to be Jesuits.” [12]

The Vatican had exacted the concessions it wanted, but had failed to mobilise the faithful in return ― and the members of the Communist Central Committee were surprised!

In the wake of the election disaster the Vatican made one more manoeuvre at the expense of the outgoing government. Out of fear of Russia, Poland still had no diplomatic relations with the Vatican, (a precondition for a concordat), even though there was a Polish pope. On 17 July 1989 the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, informed the Polish emissary that in half an hour the Vatican would announce that relations had been established with Poland. Such announcements are supposed to be made simultaneously, which left the Polish government with no time to object. [13]

After the Church secures privileges conditional on constitutional safeguards — these are removed 

The second part of the manoeuvre was accomplished soon after the fall of Communism. An amendment in September 1991 changed the Law about relations with the Catholic Church, in order to give precedence to the planned concordat. It removed the clause that stated “The Catholic Church in the Republic of Poland acts within the framework of the Constitutional order”. [14] 

With this, the Church was officially freed from having to obey the country's constitution ― and the next month, in October 1991 the Church presented its concordat draft.

The Concordat guarantees the law which exempts it from constitutional control

A third manoeuvre ensured that the second one could not be undone by simply amending the Law about relations with the Catholic Church. The well-known law professor, Michal Pietrzak mentioned in 1997 (i.e., before the Concordat was finally ratified) how its freedom from constitutional restraints was then being engineered. He comments on the advantages of the Law about relations with the Catholic Church and points out how an article was inserted into the text of the Concordat which made it legally impossible to change this Act:

The extremely beneficial measures for the Catholic Church, in terms of the taxation of the clergy and the legal personality of the Church, cannot be amended unilaterally by the state. [This is because] the Concordat (Article 22 §2) stipulates that changes to current legislation on financial institutions and of churches and clergy can only be made with the agreement of the Catholic Church. [15]

In 1992, to help the concordat negotiations, Pope John Paul II visited Poland twice. [16] The following year the Vatican finally got its chance.

Polish democracy takes a lunch break

The fragmented state of Polish politics in the new Republic gave the Church its opening. At the time it was remarked that “Nearly 30 parties have seats in the Parliament about to be dissolved, which has been described as more maddening than Rubik's cube”. [17] This situation ultimately led to a successful non-confidence motion and on 29 May 1993 President Walesa dissolved Parliament. Two days later, on 31 May, he declared presidential rule until the next national election on 19 September. Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka, a specialist in Constitutional Law, saw an opportunity. Why have an all-day debate seen by millions on the public TV channel, if the concordat could be slipped through while the MPs were at home until autumn?

And, more important, what if the MPs returned after the autumn elections refused to ratify it? This was a very real possibility, as the centre-left Alliance of the Democratic Left was expected to form the next government, which indeed happened. This party could refuse to ratify the concordat because this would be in violation of Article 82.2 (cited above) which was still in force. And even worse, unless the concordat were signed quickly, the new constitution might, like its predecessors, forbid the conclusion of any future concordats. Then the Vatican would get no more than the 1988 Convention with the Communists. It was essential to get the concordat signed fast so that, faced with this fait accompli, the new constitution would be forced to permit it retroactively.

 Concordat signed in violation of a constitution few wanted to defend

On 28 July 1993 there was the signing of a concordat, with the force of an international treaty, with the government of a democratic state which had lost the confidence of parliament. As a constitutional expert remarked drily, “This is probably the first such case in the history of Vatican diplomacy”. [18]

The concordat was signed under presidential. rather than parliamentary rule. This was enacted under the temporary Small Constitution of 1992 which had annulled some of the most outdated parts of the 1952 Stalinist Constitution. Yet, though the introduction of presidential rule was in accord with the Small Constitution, what was done with it was not. For the Small Constitution still retained Article 82.2 of its Stalinist predecessor. This specified that church-state relations be regulated by national laws, which effectively forbade concordats. As a constitutional expert Suchocka knew this, but she also realised that she could violate it with impunity: after the fall of Communism it would be politically embarrassing for anyone who objected to be seen as trying to uphold a relic of Stalinism. On 28 July 1993, in the middle of the parliamentary break, the concordat was quietly signed.

This called forth objections from a prominent constitutional expert [19] who was cited in the minority report of the Select Committee to Review the Concordat: “The current Constitution of the Republic of Poland does not grant the authority for the conclusion of the Concordat by the state with the Holy See.” [20]

Hanna Suchocka was not expecting to be re-elected as Prime Minister, as indeed proved the case. However, she had earned appreciation elsewhere. The year after she helped get the concordat signed, she was appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Today she is Poland's ambassador to the Sovereign Order of Malta. And since 2001 she has also served as Poland's ambassador to the Holy See. [21] 

The Concordat shapes the (present) 1997 Constitution

This was a triumph for the Church because even a concordat which has been signed but not yet ratified can have wide-reaching consequences. Though signing a treaty does not oblige a state to observe it, it does amount to a non-binding presumption that it will eventually be ratified and, accordingly, the state must refrain, as a matter of good faith, from doing anything to defeat the purpose of the treaty. [22] Now the new constitution was going to have to be drawn up to accommodate the concordat, not vice versa. The signing of the concordat eliminated the possibility that the constitution could jeopardise the Vatican treaty by enshrining the principle of church-state separation.

In the 1993 autumn election, the centre-left Alliance of the Democratic Left was voted in, as expected. The new government acquiesced to the accomplished fact of the signed concordat and contented itself with extending a few of its privileges to other denominations in the so-called “laws around the concordat” (“ustawa okolokonkordatowa”). These were greeted by the papal nuncio as showing that the concordat had worked “ indirectly... for the benefit”  of the other groups. [23]

The official policy of the new governing party was “first the Constitution, then the Concordat” and the next year Sejm passed a special resolution to postpone moves to ratify the concordat until the new constitution was in place. [24] The delay of the ratification was vigorously opposed by the bishops. [25] This prevented the concordat from officially shaping the constitution and it represented the only victory in the long struggle against the concordat. However, it was a very minor victory, as it didn't prevent the already-signed concordat from influencing the new constitution unofficially. And this is exactly what happened.

In 1996, at the demand of the Church, whose representatives took part in the work of the Constitutional Committee on equal terms with the members of parliament, the provision on the separation of Church and State was replaced with an enigmatic wording providing for their “mutual impartiality”. [26]

The final version of the 1997 Constitution shows their input.

  • The reference to the separation of church and state in an earlier version was replaced with “the mutual independence of each in its own sphere” (Article 25.3). This leaves it open for the Church to define what “its own sphere” should be.
  • Article 18 of the new Constitution defined “the union of a man and a woman” and in 2001, for example, this was used to justify denying the inheritance of a tenancy from one gay partner to the other.
  • Of course, the provision in the old constitution that prevented a concordat was also swept away. In fact, church-state relations were henceforth to be determined by the concordat and any necessary enabling legislation (Article 25.4 ) With this, the 1997 Constitution removed itself as the guarantor of Polish religious freedom and handed this job over to the Vatican....

Perhaps primarily in connection with Poland's accession to the European Union, which the pope supported, President Kwasniewski made a trip to the Vatican the month before the seventh papal visit to Poland in June 1997. [27] The Pope's visit to his homeland served to increase the pressure to ratify the concordat, as the President wanted to present the ratified agreement to him when he arrived. [28] Although this did not happen, the papal visit still served to create “new momentum for adopting the Concordat”. [29]

In the autumn of 1997 a new election brought in a centre-right coalition which further favoured the chances for ratification and even effectively altered the content of the concordat. For the preceding government had drawn up an “Interpretation” of the Concordat” which the Vatican apparently promised to add to the text as an internationally binding protocol. However, in the end the Vatican refused to have it incorporated into the document and the new government did not insist. [30]

Concordat ratified in violation of the new constitution

With the formation of a right-leaning coalition after the September election and the proclamation of the concordat-friendly Constitution in October it was finally time to try to ratify the Concordat. This was attempted early the next year, on 23 February 1998, but although the new constitution required a two-thirds majority in each house of parliament (Article 90.2), this was not achieved. In the Senate the concordat did get the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate, but in the Sejm only a simple majority voted it in. [31] Although this was a clear violation of the country's constitution, the concordat with the Vatican was considerd to be finally ratified.

Curiously, the year after he left office, President Kwasniewski who presided over this violation of the Polish constitution was appointed “Distinguished Scholar in the Practice of Global Leadership” at the Jesuit Georgetown University. [32]

“Protecting” Poland against EU human rights

The final move was made before Poland entered the European Union in 2004. It took place in that curious body called the Joint Commission [33] which holds secret meetings between Church and state officials.

The bishops said openly that at a Joint Commission meeting on 20 January 2003 they obliged the Government to accept a Declaration “that protects human life from conception”. [34] This served to safeguard existing Polish legislation, and the concordat, against any possible charges that they violated EU guarantees of human rights. [35] Poland's Declaration to the Accession Treaty runs as follows:

The Government of the Republic of Poland understands that nothing in the provisions of the Treaty on European Union, of the Treaties establishing the European Communities and the provisions of treaties amending or supplementing those treaties prevents the Polish State in regulating questions of moral significance, as well as those related to the protection of human life. [36]

The Polish bishops were disappointed that this only accompanied the treaty and was not incorporated into it, as was done to preserve the abortion ban in Ireland [37] and Malta. [38] 

For their part, most of the Polish women's groups were horrified and in an open letter urged the European Union not to accept the Declaration. 

While cows, land and milk have been discussed extensively for a long time in public, this Declaration was accepted in response to the pressure of the Roman Catholic Church behind close doors without any consultations with society, ignoring strong protests of women’s groups. [...] Do not take the responsibility for freezing the Polish anti-abortion law for the [indefinite] future and for further violation of the reproductive rights of Polish women. [39]

The Vatican's man gets a ruling on the priority of the concordat

 In 2005, the year after Poland joined the European Union, a further ruling was sought to ensure that the Polish concordat would not be challenged in the country's courts.

Antoni Macierewicz, leader of the Catholic-National Movement, didn't have enough members of parliament in his own party, but he managed to round up the group of 50 MPs necessary to petition for a ruling in the matter. [40] This group asked the Constitutional Tribunal to confirm  that the requirements for EU membership posed no threat to the concordat. [41] Specifically they were worried about Article 2 of the Conditions of Accession which required that new members abide by the rules of EU, as laid down in its earlier treaties.

The MPs were concerned that European law could override the Polish concordat. They wanted to make sure that the clause in the Constitution protecting the concordat remained undisputed. This was Article 25.4 of the Polish Constitution:

The relations between the Republic of Poland and the Roman Catholic Church shall be determined by the international treaty [i.e. the Concordat] concluded with the Holy See, and by statute.

On 11th of May 2005 the Constitutional Tribunal reassured them. In its justification the Constitutional Tribunal wrote:

The end of the validity of the Concordat or its amendment can come about only on the grounds stipulated by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties from 23.05.1969. In the Republic of Poland, after accession to the European Union, the legal status of Catholic Church has not been changed. [42]

Until the Concordat is rejected by one side it will be valid and under Article 9 of the Constitution Poland has a duty to obey it. [Article 9 says: "The Republic of Poland shall respect international law binding upon it."] Superiority of EU law rule does not change anything in this matter hence there is no collision between Article 2 regarding membership requirements and Article 25.4 of the Constitution. [43]


 Some remarkable features of the Polish Concordat have been summed up by several scholars as follows:

[T]he Concordat not only endorses some state obligations derived from existing law, but also expands them. These include, among others, state aid for religious schools at the university level and expanding support for maintaining buildings belonging to the Church. Article 12.1 of the Concordat excludes the right of adult students to decide whether to take religious classes, a privilege they presently enjoy.

Nevertheless, possibly the most startling point of this treaty is the proposed relation of the Church to the existing legal order.

First, no provision exists requiring the Church to respect the existing law, specifically the constitutional order. This is of great significance, especially considering the fact that the provision of the Statute on the Relationship between the Catholic Church and the State [the 1989 Rakowski Act] that stated “the Catholic Church in the Republic of Poland acts within the framework of the Constitutional order” was removed by amendment in September 1991.

Second, the Concordat introduces some provisions that are entirely inconsistent with existing law, particularly regulations referring to “Canon Law matrimony,” and goes so far as to call for essential changes in marital law. [44]

The first article of the concordat echoes the new Constitution, asserting that “the State and the Catholic church are, each in its own domain, independent and autonomous”. Naturally there is no reference to separation of Church and state.

The most controversial aspect of the agreement was Article 22, a cryptic clause dealing with restitution of Church property. A special Church-state commission was to make legal changes such that “The new regulation will take into account the needs of the Church given its mission and the practice hitherto of Church life in Poland.” Added to this was Article 27: “Matters requiring new or additional treatment will be regulated by new agreements or understandings”. In this way, Sejm [Polish Parliament] approval of the Concordat would provide carte blanche for future changes. [...]

The agreement was signed while the Sejm was dissolved, raising further questions about the Church's respect for democracy. [45]


* By hook or by crook: “by whatever means possible, fair or unfair”. This originally referred to the right to gather firewood only by breaking off dry dead wood by hand, or with a blunt tool such as a crook or a hook; but sharp cutting tools were used so often furtively that the expression got its present meaning of “by any means at all”.

1. The evidence of Church collusion with the Communist regime at the highest levels is massive. A sample:
“New book reveals communist spies’ ties with Polish clergy”, Axis Globe, 26 February 2007.
“In Poland new wave of charges against clerics”, New York Times, 10 January 2007.  
“An End to the Lies: The Polish Church's Secret Past”, Spiegel, 16 January 2007. 

2. Krystyna Daniel, “The Church-State Situation in Poland After the Collapse of Communism”, Brigham Young University Law Review, Vol. 1995 (2, 1995), p. 3.

3.  Ibid.

4. According to a 2005 poll, about 97% of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church.  

5. This statute was finally issued on 8 January 1998 and came into force on 10th of February 1998. That's what the Sejm and Senate were needed for. Only after that could the President and John Paul II ratify it, which happened on 23 February 1998.

This unusual ratification procedure for some types of treaties — including concordats — is set forth in Articles 88-90 of the 1997 Constitution.

6. Czesław Janik [Institute of Political Sciences, University of Warsaw], “Kościelny projekt konkordatu z 1991” (“Church project Concordat of 1991”), Racjonalista, 2003.,243

7.  DzU PRL (Public Law Gazette, No. 29, item 154, with subsequent amendments):  On 17 May 1989, along with the Rakowski Act there had been two other measures: a Statute on Freedom of Conscience (which redefined the state's relationship to all religions, conferring equal status on the Roman Catholic and the minority churches) and a law on Social Insurance for Clergy.

8. Daniel, p. 6.

9. Citizens’ complaint to the Commission of the European Communities, 4 October 2007.

10. Douglas Martin, "Mieczyslaw Rakowski, former Polish Communist Premier, Dies at 81". New York Times, 11  November 2008.

11. Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party, "Minutes No. 64 from an Expanded Meeting of the PZPR CC [Central Committee of the Communist Party] Secretariat, June 5, 1989."

12. Stanisław Ciosek, 5 June 1989. In the years leading to the Round Table negotiations (1986-88), he was General Secretary of the PZPR's Central Committee and General Secretary of the National Council of the Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth. From 1989 to 1996, Ciosek was Poland's Ambassador to Moscow. He describes the atmosphere during the last days of Communism, with the government groping for change, but not sure how to manage it. The Church knew how to take advantage of this uncertainty.

13. Mirosław Ikonowicz, “Polska droga do konkordatu” (“Poland’s path to the concordat”), Tygodnik Przeglad, Numebr: 31/2003, 28 July 2003.

14. Daniel, p. 11.  

15. Prof. Michał Pietrzak, “Uwagi nad konkordatem” (“Observations on the concordat”), 17 June 1997.,3054

Przyjmując za punkt wyjścia w sprawach finansowych instytucji i dóbr kościelnych oraz duchowieństwa obowiązujące ustawodawstwo polskie i przepisy kościelne Układające się Strony stworzą specjalną komisję, która zajmie się koniecznymi zmianami. Nowa regulacja uwzględni potrzeby Kościoła biorąc pod uwagę jego misję oraz dotychczasową praktykę życia kościelnego w Polsce. 

16. In June and August, 1991.  

17. Jane Perlez, “Polish Prime Minister to Stay Until New Elections”, New York Times, 30 May 1993. 

More detail is found at "Poland -- A country study: Introduction"

On August 1, 1992, a majority of 241 approved the Little Constitution in the Sejm. The issues resolved by the Little Constitution had been debated hotly and inconclusively many times before. Especially significant was the concept of the government's "special powers," which Walesa had advocated to avoid the legislative morass of Poland's multiparty parliament in building the legal framework for economic reform. Special powers meant that the government (cabinet) could now issue decrees with the force of law, provided the cabinet had the support of an absolute majority of the Sejm. The Sejm still decided, however, which policy areas were subject to such circumvention of the legislative process. According to the Little Constitution, areas protected from the force of decree were elections at all levels, constitutional amendments, the state budget, and civil and political liberties.

In early 1993, Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka requested expansion of the government's decree power to specifically include management of the economy, local government reform, public services, and adaptation of Polish laws to the standards of the European Community (EC) -- areas considered vital to accelerate urgently pending economic decisions. According to her proposal, numerous safeguards would prevent the Council of Ministers from inappropriate action under the new law.

18. Prof. Michał Pietrzak, “Uwagi nad konkordatem” (“Observations on the concordat”), 17 June 1997.,3054

19.  Prof. Michał Pietrzak, “Kwestia zgodności z Konstytucją konkordatu” (“The issue of the Concordat's compliance with the Constitution”), 31 January 1994.,2932

20. “Sprawozdanie Komisji Nadzwyczajnej z 14 III 1995” (“Report of the Select Committee, 14 March 1995”).

21. Hanna Suchocka was appointed a member of the Pontifical Academy by John Paul II on 19 January 1994, has been ambassador to the Order of Malta since 10 October 2002 and to the Holy See since 3 December 2001. She has also been awarded High order Grand Croce dell’Ordine Piano of the Holy See (2004), Grand Croce dell’Ordine di Malta “Pro Merito Melitensi” (2005).

22. “EU Member States: Signing and ratifying a treaty”, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law.

23. “Wystąpienie abpa Józefa Kowalczyka, Nuncjusza Apostolskiego podczas Walnego Zebrania Stowarzyszenia Kanonistów Polskich”, (“Address by Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, Apostolic Nuncio in the General Assembly of the Association of Polish canonists”), Warsaw, 24 October 1994.,2997

Indeed, I welcome the advanced legislative initiatives aiming at granting to other churches the legal status similar to that outlined in the concordat. In this way the concordat indirectly works also for the benefit of other churches and faith associations.

24. Uchwała Sejmu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia 1 lipca 1994 r. o trybie prac nad ustawą o ratyfikacji Konkordatu między Stolicą Apostolską a Rzecząpospolitą Polską (Polish Sejm Resolution of 1 July 1994 for work to be done before the ratification of the Concordat), M.P. 1994 nr 39 poz. 326.

25. Stanowisko 271. Konferencji Episkopatu Polski w sprawie ratyfikacji konkordatu, 26 sierpnia 1994 r., Częstochowa, (271st Statement of the Polish Episcopal Conference on the ratification of the concordat, 26 August 1994, Czestochowa).,2996 

26. Andrzej Dominiczak, Halina Postek and Barbara Stanosz,  “The outline of problems regarding freedom of conscience and belief, human rights and freedoms, the separation of church and state and equality in today’s Poland: Letter to the European Union”, Warsaw, 15 March 2001, On behalf of the Polish Humanist Federation and Polish Humanist Association.  

27. “Kwaśniewski zeznawał w procesie beatyfikacyjnym”,  (“Kwasniewski testified in the beatification process”), Gazeta, 21 December 2005.,72542,3077830,.html

28. “Concordat: Movement At Last”, The Warsaw Voice Online, 27 kwiecien [April] 1997.

29. Ray Taras, “Poland's Transition to a Democratic Republic: The Taming of the Sacred?” in William Safran, ed., The Secular and the Sacred: Nation, Religion, and Politics, (Routledge 2003), Google reprint, p. 152. 

30. See “Interpretation” of the Concordat (1998).

31. At the third reading in the Sejm on 8 January 1998, the concordat was not ratified by the required two-thirds: 273 voted in favour, 161 against, 2 abstained. (273 of 436 is 63%) “Rządowy projekt ustawy o ratyfikacji Konkordatu między Stolicą Apostolską i Rzecząpospolitą Polską”

The Senate ratified the concordat on 22 January 1998.
67 voted in favour, 24 against, 2 abstained. (67 of 93 is 72%)

32. Press release, Georgetown University , 7 March 2006. 


34. “Komisja Wspólna Rządu i Episkopatu ma 60 lat”, (“The Joint Commission of Government and the Episcopate is 60 years old”), KAI, (Katolicka Agencja Informacyjna), 6 September 2009.

35. The 2003 Accession Treaty which extended the European Union into Eastern Europe was apparently considered potentially dangerous to the special status of the Catholic Church in Poland. The offending clause is the Article 2 which merely says, when you join the club you must abide by the rules, in other words, by all previous EU treaties:

Article 2: From the date of accession, the provisions of the original Treaties and the acts adopted by the institutions and the European Central Bank before accession shall be binding on the new Member States and shall apply in those States under the conditions laid down in those Treaties and in this Act. 

36. “Declaration by the Government of the Republic of Poland concerning public morality”, 23 September 2003.
See also “European democracy”,  27 November 2005. This blog includes discussion and comments.

37. Protocol on Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution of Ireland (2004).

38. Protocol No 7 on abortion in Malta (2003).

Nothing in the Treaty on European Union, or in the Treaties establishing the European Communities, or in the Treaties or Acts modifying or supplementing those Treaties, shall affect the application in the territory of Malta of national legislation relating to abortion.

This was based on the Irish Protocol attached to the Maastricht Treaty in February 1992.

39. “Open letter to European Union key politicians”, 29 January 2003.

40. Required by article 191.1 of the Constitution.

41. “Application of the group of MPs of the Fourth Session of the Sejm enumerated in the added list, and represented by MP Antoni Macierewicz”, 2 September 2004.

42. “Judgement of 11 May 2005 on the case K18/04 on behalf of the Republic of Poland”, [Judgement on the constitutionality of the Accession Treaty], p. 15.

43. Ibid., p. 24.

44. Daniel, pp. 11-12. 
45. Taras, pp. 151-52.


Research contributed by Maciej Psyk of the Polish Rationalists 

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