As well as the national concordat made with the Nazi regime, every German state has at least one pact with either with the Vatican or local Catholic bishops. Over 50 German concordats currently in force. Highlights are given from one of the 18 concordats with state governments (Länder), the Brandenburg concordat. Also a list of state concordats is linked to the texts in German.
In this excerpt Prof. Francis Messner looks at Germany, where relations between church and state are regulated by treaties. This means international “concordats” for the Catholic Church, and national “accords” for the other religious groups. In the last hundred years there have been three waves of these.
Under the Bavarian concordat the bishop can veto all professors of Catholic theology (Art. 5 on the Catholic University) and 21 professors of philosophy, pedagogy, sociology and politics (Art. 3 on concordat chairs). These chairs are 85-90% funded by the state, yet non-Catholics need not apply, nor even a top Catholic scholar who criticised Pope Benedict.
Due to “church tax” Germany is the cash cow of the Vatican and to encourage this special rules seem to apply. A quarter of new German marriages are remarriages. Neither these couples nor gays are shut out from sacraments and thus discouraged from paying their church membership fees. And soon they may not even be fired from Church employment.
From birth to death many Germans depend on social services that are paid for by the taxpayer, but run by the church. These church institutions, both Catholic and Protestant, operate in accordance with their own religious laws and they affect both employees and clients. These stories about ordinary Germans show what it means to live in the shadow of religious laws. To keep their jobs many must endure interference in their private lives.
German church employees are outside the labour laws and are forbidden to strike. How do the churches justify denying employment rights? Through a theology of employment called the "third way": in church-run institutions there is so much brotherly love that any conflict of interest between employer and employee is impossible. Strikes are unnecessary and would only disturb the harmony....