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%%rimage[Modifications to Franco's concordat (1976)]=X845_727_ESBarcelonaDomLogo_t55.jpg Modifications to Franco's concordat (1976)

The year after the death of General Franco, when democracy returned to Spain, a swift modification of his 1953 Concordat kept Franco's concordat from being swept away along with his dictatorship. The revision of Article 7 largely rescinds Franco's royal patronage (patronato real), by which he helped select bishops. And Art. 16, which had placed clerics largely above criminal law, is quietly replaced.

(BOE Nº 230, 24 September)

The Holy See and the Spanish Government: in view of the profound process of transformation experienced by Spanish society in recent years concerning relations between the political community and religious faiths, and between the Catholic Church and the State; taking into account that on its part Vatican Council II established as fundamental principles, to which the relations between the political community and the Church should adapt, both the mutual independence of both parties in their respective areas, as well as positive collaboration between them; asserted religious freedom as a right that should be recognized in society´s legal code; and taught that the freedom of the Church is an essential principle of the relationship between the Church and Public Authority and the civil system, given that the Spanish State included in its laws the right to religious freedom, based on the dignity of persons (Law of 1 July 1967) and recognized in this same code that there shall be norms appropriate to the fact that the majority of the Spanish people profess the Catholic religion, deem it necessary to regulate by means of specific Agreements, those subjects of common interest that, under the new circumstances arising after the signing of the Concordat of 27 August 1953, require new regulation; therefore, they agree to undertake, by common consent, the study of these different subjects for the purpose of concluding, as soon as possible, the Agreements that will gradually substitute the corresponding provisions of the Concordat currently in force.

On the other hand, taking into account that the free naming of Bishops and the equality of all citizens in the administration of justice has priority and special urgency in the revision of the provisions of the present Concordat, both contracting Parties conclude, as a first step in said revision, the following:


I. 1. The appointment of Archbishops and Bishops shall be the exclusive responsibility of the Holy See.

2. Before proceeding with the appointment of resident Archbishops and Bishops and of Coadjutors with the right to succession, the Holy See shall communicate the name of the person designated to the Spanish Government, in case there may be, with respect to this person, possible specific objections of a general political nature, the appraisal of which shall correspond to the judicious consideration of the Holy See.

It shall be understood that there are no objections if the Government has not expressed these within fifteen days.

Both Parties shall maintain the corresponding formalities secret.

3. The appointment of the Military Vicar General shall be made by means of the proposal of three names, drawn up by common consent between the Apostolic Nunciature and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs y submitted for approval to the Holy See. The King shall present, within fifteen days, one of these to be appointed by the Supreme Pontiff.

4. Article VII and Paragraph 2 of Article VIII of the current Concordat are hereby abolished, as is the Agreement stipulated between the Holy See and the Spanish Government of 7 June 1941.

II. 1. Article XVI of the current Concordat is hereby abolished.

2. If a clergyman is criminally charged, the competent Authority shall notify his respective Ordinary. If the person charged is a Bishop, or a person of similar rank under Canon Law, the Holy See shall be notified.

3. In no case may a clergyman or member of a religious order be enjoined by Judges or other Authorities to give information concerning persons or subjects that they may have obtained in the course of their ministry.

4. The Spanish State recognizes and respects the exclusive legal authority of the Church Courts over those offenses which exclusively violate an ecclesiastic Law in accordance with Canon Law. Civil Authorities shall have no right to appeal sentences served by Church Courts.

The present Agreement, the texts of which in Spanish and Italian are equally valid, shall go into effect upon the interchange of the instruments of ratification.


The Church Law Society (Czech Republic) 

«Acuerdo entre la Santa Sede y el Estado español, de 28 de julio de 1976»

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