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Opinions & Interviews

2 May 2017

Kondrusiewicz: Signing of concordat between Holy See and Belarus will improve country's image

Kondrusiewicz: Signing of concordat between Holy See and Belarus will improve country's image

MINSK, 2 May (BelTA) - The signing of the concordat between the Holy See and Belarus will improve the country's image in the international arena, Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz said when making a reprot “Interaction of Church and State in our time” in the Academy of Public Administration under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Belarus, BelTA has learned.

“For many years, there have been talks in Belarus on the need to sign such an agreement between the Holy See and our country. Both sides are interested in this. Yet, not all the problems associated with the preparation of the agreement have been resolved. But we look forward to the progress in this important endeavor. The signing of the concordat will give new opportunities for the Catholic Church in carrying out its mission and will also promote the image of Belarus in the international arena,” the metropolitan said.

He explained that the concordat or a special agreement is signed by the two subjects of international law - the Holy See and a sovereign state. It regulates the relations between the Catholic Church and the State. The main essence of such agreements is that they define the rights and obligations of the parties at the international level. The agreement guarantees the right of the Catholic Church to proclaim and defend the moral values and to develop social teaching.

Currently, the relationship between the Catholic Church and the State is governed by articles 16 and 31 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the law on the freedom of conscience and religious organizations of 1992, with subsequent amendments and additions, and many legal acts. The Archbishop noted that this law is common to all religions and confessions, and emphasized that the full right to freedom of religion requires a Church-State agreement that would take into account the peculiarities of different faiths and religions. That is why the Holy See seeks to sign such an agreement. Without it, the Catholic Church cannot fully carry out its activities in Belarus, as it happens in other countries,” the metropolitan said.

Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz also drew attention to the need for the adoption of the restitution law in Belarus, as in Russia, Lithuania and Latvia, in regard to the transfer of the previously confiscated church buildings to parishes. In his view, there is a need to revise upward the norms on the construction of churches, since the temples are built through donations from the faithful. In addition, there is a need to simplify the procedure for obtaining and using the aid by non-profit organizations, and getting a permit for foreign priests to serve in Belarus. “In the modern world there is not only economic but also cultural and religious globalization, and we must be part of it,” the Archbishop noted.

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