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Concordat with General Ongan�a (1966)

On 29 June 1966 General Juan Carlos Onganía ditched democracy, on 29 July he had the police terrorise the University of Buenos Aires and on 10 October he gave Argentina this concordat. Paul VI hailed this pact with a military dictator as “the first fruit in the field of Church-state relations of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II.”* This concordat needed no separate ratification.

Ongania banned all political activities, sent the military to repress workers' protests, and announced his intention to remain in power indefinitely. As it turned out, he was ousted after only four years, but his concordat remains in power indefinitely.

Half a centuiry later this concordat was used by the Vatican to hamper the investigation of Father Nicola Corradi who is accused of being the ringleader of a group of clerics who preyed on deaf children at Catholic schools in Italy and Argentina.

Accord between the Holy See and the Republic of Argentina

Signed in Buenos Aires, the 10th of October 1966

[The exchange of the instruments of ratification took place at the Vatican on the 28th of January 1967 with the Ambassador Pedro J. Frias acting for Argentina and the Secretary of State, Cardinal Amleto Cicognani for the Holy See.]

The Holy See, reaffirming the principles of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II, and the State of Argentina, inspired by the principle of liberty repeatedly confirmed in the National Constitution and with the aim of updating the legal situation of the Apostolic Roman Catholic Church which the Federal Government supports, are convening to solemnise an accord. 

To this end, His Holiness the High Pontiff Paul VI has resolved to officially name as his Plenipotentiary His Excellency the Most Reverend Monsignor, Umberto Mozzoni, Apostolic Nuncio to Argentina, and His Excellency, the President of the Argentine Nation, Lieutenant General D. Juan Carlos Onganía, has resolved to name as his Plenipotentiary His Excellency Dr. Nicanor Costa Méndez, Minister of External Affairs and Culture. The Plenipotentiaries, after showing their respective full authorisation and having found them in proper form, agree to the following:

Article 1

The State of Argentina recognises and assures the Apostolic Roman Catholic Church the free and full exercise of its spiritual power and the free and public exercise of its worship, as well as of its jurisdiction within the bounds of its competence to achieve its specific aims.

Article 2

The Holy See shall be able to form new church dioceses, as well as alter the boundaries of existing or dissolve them, if this is considered necessary or useful for aiding the attendance of the faithful and promoting their organisation. Before proceeding with the formation of a new Diocese or Prelature or with other changes to the diocesan boundaries, the Holy See will communicate its intentions and plans confidentially to the Government with the aim of ascertaining if it conforms to sanctioned practices, except in cases of minimal territorial adjustments required for the care of souls.

The Holy See will officially inform the Government in a timely manner of new establishments, modifications or cancellations it has made, so that this proceeding has clearance, insofar as it is relevant to the elected administrators.

The Government will also be informed of modifications to the boundaries of the present Dioceses.

Article 3

The appointment of archbishops and bishops is to be determined by the Holy See.

Before proceeding to the appointment of archbishops and residing bishops, of prelates or coadjudicators with rights of succession, the Holy See will inform the Argentine Government the names of the person chosen to ascertain if there are objections of a general political nature to this person.

The Argentine Government will deliver its objections within 30 days. After this period has passed the silence of the Government will be interpreted as meaning that it has no objections against the appointment. All of these proceedings will be carried out with the strictest secrecy.

Everything relating to the Military Chaplaincy will continue in effect through the Convention of 28 June 1957.

The archbishops, residing bishops, and the coadjudicators with rights of succession will be Argentine citizens.

Article 4

It is recognised that the Holy See has the right to publish in the Republic of Argentina regulations pertaining to the government of the Church and to communicate with and maintain a free correspondence with the bishops, the clergy and the faithful in regard to its noble ministry, in the same manner as they must have with the Apostolic See.

Article 5

The Argentine Episcopate can call on the country's orders, religious congregations, both male and female and secular clerics as it sees fit to increase spiritual assistance and the Christian education of the people.

Upon request of the Ordinary of the place, the Argentine Government, always in accordance with the relevant laws, will facilitate the residence permits and citizenship papers of ecclesiastical persons and foreign clerics.

Article 6

In the case objections should be raised by the Argentine Government in conformity with Articles 2 and 3, the leaders of the opposing sides will search for the appropriate forms to reach an understanding; in addition, they will resolve amicably [i.e., out of court] any possible differences which may arise in the interpretation and application of the clauses of the present accord.

Article 7

The present convention, whose texts in Italian and Spanish have equal validity, will enter into force at the moment of the exchange of instruments of ratification.

In witness thereof, the above named Plenipotentiaries sign and seal this accord, in two copies, in the City of Buenos Aires, on the 10th day of the month of October of the year 1966.



Acuerdo entre la Santa Sede y la República Argentina,
suscripto en Buenos Aires, el 10 de octubre de 1966
AAS 59 (1967) 127-130


* Pope Paul VI, in an allocution at the Sacred College and at the Roman Prelature on the 23rd of December 1966 declared: “We are pleased to point out that the Accord of Buenos Aires is the first fruit in the field of Church-state relations of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II.” ( “Ci è gradito rilevare che l’Accordo di Buenos Aires è il primo frutto, nel campo delle relazioni tra Chiesa e Stato, del Concilio Ecumenico Vaticano II.)

“Discorso di Paolo VI al Sacro Collegio e alla Prelatura Romana, Venerdì, 23 dicembre 1966” 




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