Monday, 17 March 2014

Concordat Watch: an epistle to

I came across a particularly virulent anti-Catholic Blog this morning called Concordat Watch. They begin their invective against the Church by averring, or havering: “A concordat is a legal agreement between a country and the Vatican. It can set up a theological fiefdom where certain human rights do not apply — and where they can never again be reintroduced without the consent of the Catholic Church. This is why concordats represent a fundamental threat to both democracy and human rights.”

I have sought to communicate with them in electronic epistolatory manner as follows:

"I refer to the section “Germany”, see:

You begin by stating: “Just one of the “Fascist concordats” is still substantially in place. Italy has got rid of the Mussolini concordat, Spain has replaced the Franco concordat, Austria has eroded through amendments the Dollfuss concordat and Portugal has scrapped the concordat made with Salazar. Only Germany still retains its concordat with Hitler.”

I presume that the final sentence quoted above has been garbled in translation: “Only Germany still retains its concordat with Hitler.” This is meaningless. Germany made no treaties with Hitler. In points (1) and (2) above (should be below”;  I had changed the running order of what I had written, went and made a cup of tea, came back and sent it forgetting to make consequent edits and then was unable to edit it after sending) I have presumed hat what was intended to be stated was: “Germany alone retains in force the concordat negotiated between the Holy See (and NOT the Vatican) and Germany under the Nazis.”

On that basis two points require to be made, firstly (point (1)), Italy, Spain, Austria and Portugal have freely decided how to deal with their various treaty obligations and entered into negotiation with the appropriate representatives of the Holy See to adjust things to their satisfaction. That was their right. Many of the German Lander have done exactly the same but have chosen, in some though not all cases, to keep things as they were, more or less. That was also their right. It is called the democratic process.

Secondly (point (2)), although some of the matters retained under the concordats between the various Lander and the Holy See are mirrored in the Reichskonkordat signed in Rome on July 20, 1933, it is not that which they have chosen to continue but the concordats made between the Holy See and some of the various German States during the Weimar Republic 1919-33): Bavaria (March 29, 1924); Prussia (June 14, 1929), and; Baden (October 12, 1932). I need only refer you to “Religion and Law in Germany” by Professor Gerhard Robbers of the University of Trier (and a judge of the Constitutional Court of Rhineland-Palatinate).

You conclude this section by stating: “… no one got excommunicated, as is generally the case when churchmen violate Church doctrine.” That is a blatant falsehood. There is absolutely no “generally” about it. Members of the Church find it very difficult to get themselves excommunicated. And not just in Germany where currently a few Bishops and, indeed, one Cardinal in the opinion of orthodox Catholics like myself well merit such interdiction. It is also the case almost else- and everywhere. And most particularly in the USA. Think John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Mario and Andrew Cuomo.

I realise from the entirely biased, indeed bigoted, tenor of the content of your Blog that objective truth will hold little attraction for you and so I hold out no prospect of the preceding being of any interest or consequence to you. But where there’s life… I suppose."

Funnily enough, leaving aside the tenor and intent of their commentary, this site was extremely helpful to me in enabling me to get access to translations of concordats I was interested in for a piece of research I am doing for an article (hopefully) on the election of bishops.