Pact Signed on Church's Freedom in German State

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 13, 2003 ( The Holy See and Brandenburg signed an agreement to regulate relations between the Catholic Church and the majority-Protestant German state.

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The treaty regulates questions “such as religious freedom and the juridical state of the Catholic Church in civil society,” explained a press statement, issued by the Vatican press office today.

In particular, the agreement regulates the Church’s “freedom of activity in the cultural, educational, pastoral and charitable fields; its presence in social communication, hospitals and clinics, in preventative institutions and prisons; its responsibility for the preservation of ecclesiastical monuments; the collection of the Church tithe; financial assistance from the state for the Church. The teaching of Catholic religion in public schools and the ecclesiastical management of schools and institutions of formation at all levels will also be regulated.”

The signing of the agreement took place Wednesday in the chancellery of Potsdam, capital of the state.

The ceremony was attended by Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, to date apostolic nuncio in Germany but recently appointed Vatican secretary for relations with states, and by Minister President Matthias Platzeck.

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