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A concordat is an agreement between the Holy See and the government of a country on religious matters This often included both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country. Privileges might include exemptions from certain legal matters and processes, and issues such as taxation as well as the right of a state to influence the selection of bishops within its territory. Although for a time after the Second Vatican Council, which ended in 1965, the term 'concordat' was dropped, it reappeared with the Polish Concordat of 1993 and the Portuguese Concordat of 2004. A different model of relations between the Vatican and various states is still evolving (see e.g. Petkoff 2007) in the wake of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae.


President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil did not sign a concordat during the Pope Benedict XVI visit to Brazil in 2007, as the pontiff hoped. The principle of separation of church and state was the claimed reason for disagreement between the parties. Nevertheless, in the following year, Lula did sign it. According to its critics, the Brazilian concordat gives important privileges to the Catholic Church and the media is boycotting the matter. The treaty is now pending ratification in the Congress as the Catholic Church is rushing the Congress into approval.

Condordat Watch[1] is a website supporting separation of church and state where opponents of condordats exchange information.[2].



  • Concordat of Worms (1122) between Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V
  • Concordat of Bologna (1516) between King Francis I of France and Pope Leo X
  • Concordat of 1753 with Spain
  • Concordat of 1801 between Pope Pius VII and Napoléon
  • Concordat of Fontainebleau (1813) between Pope Pius VII and Napoléon
  • Concordat of 5 June 1817, with Bavaria
  • Concordat of 11 June 1817, with France
  • Concordat of 1847 (3 August) with Russia
  • Concordat of 1851 (16 March) with Spain
  • Concordat of 1855 between Pope Pius IX and Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph
  • Concordat of 1882 (23 December) with Russia
  • Concordat of 1886 (23 June) with Portugal
  • Concordat of 1925 (10 February) between the Holy See and the Second Polish Republic
  • Lateran treaty (11 February 1929) between Italy and Pope Pius XI, being composed of a Treaty formally defining the Vatican City and its international sovereign status and of the Concordat of 1929 concerning the Catholic Church in Italy
  • Concordat of 1933 (5 June) between the Holy See and Austria
  • Reichskonkordat (20 July 1933) between the Holy See and the Third Reich (Hughes 1974)
  • Concordat of 1940 (7 May) with the Portuguese government under Antonio de Oliveira Salazar
  • Concordat of 1953 (27 August) with Francisco Franco's Spain
  • Four Agreements of 1979 (3 January) between the Holy See and Spain
  • Concordat of 1984 (18 February) between the Holy See and the Republic of Italy, or Villa Madama Agreement
  • Concordat of 1993 (28 July) between the Holy See and Poland
  • Treaty of 2004 (March) between the Holy See and Slovakia
  • Concordat of 2004 (18 May) between the Holy See and Portugal
  • Concordat of 2008 (13 Nov) between the Holy See and Brazil
  • Concordat of 2009 with Schleswig-Holstein, one of several concordats with individual states of Germany since the 1960s


  1. Condordat Watch
  2. For example, Concordat Watch is cited as a source in Plichtová and Petrjánošová (2008, p.46, 50), and in DiMarco (2009, p.5).


  • DiMarco, Erica (2009). "The tides of Vatican influence in Italian reproductive matters: from abortion to assisted reproduction." Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 10 (2) Spring. Available online.
  • Hughes, John Jay (1974). "The Reich Concordat 1933: Capitulation or Compromise?" Australian Journal of Politics & History, 20 (2), pp. 164-175.
  • Petkoff, Peter (2007). "Legal perspectives and religious perspectives of religious rights under international law in the Vatican Concordats (1963-2004)." Law and Justice: the Christian law review, 158, p. 30- online (payment may be required).
  • Plichtová, Jana and Petrjánošová, Magda (2008). "Freedom of religion, institution of conscientious objection and political practice in post-communist Slovakia." Human Affairs, 18 (1), June, pp. 37-51. Available online here.

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