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Concordat Watch - Poland - content area

Joint Commission for secret consultation between Catholic bishops and the state

Nip it in the bud. “Prior consultation” with clerics can prevent a governments from even proposing anything the Church opposes. This is why the negotiating team set up for the Vatican's 1950 deal with the communists still meets behind closed doors today to lobby the Polish government. 

It's not just Poland. Clerical demands for legislative input are made at the level of the European Union, as well. Both Catholic and non-Catholic clerics have secured  “pre-legislative consultation” and regular “dialogue seminars” with the closest advisors to the European Commission president, and a “liaison office” there that would be informed about all “legislative and political initiatives” where the churches might wish to have a say.

The Joint Commission of Government and the Episcopate
Komisja Wspólna Rządu i Episkopatu”,
Gazeta Wyborcza
, 4 January 2008

The Joint Commission of Government and the Episcopate goes back to 1949, when the State attempted to regulate its relations with the Church. It has functioned sporadically, depending on the political climate. It was reactivated when the Gdansk agreements were signed after 1980. In 1984 the Commission prepared a draft of the act on the relations between the State and the Church. 
 
The concordat of 1998 is silent about the Commission and its authority is not clearly defined.  In March 2006 the government and the Church debated, within the frame of the Joint Commission, for example the issue of religious education as a part of secondary school-leaving examinations. In 2004, at the Commission, the Church criticised the Family Benefits Act, stating that it might lead to fictitious divorces as a consequence. the government took into consideration some of the Church's remarks.

 


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