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Concordat (1964)

To cash in on the oil revenues, the Vatican binds the government to subsidise the salaries of bishops, the building and running of churches (art. 11), missionising the natives (art. 12) and Catholic schools (art. 14).

Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Venezuela

[signed 6 March 1964, ratified 24 October 1964]

The Holy See and the Venezuelan State, considering that the Roman Catholic religion is the religion of the vast majority of Venezuelans and in the hope that all issues of common interest can be arranged as soon as possible in a final and fitting manner, and intending to do so in future Agreements, have in the meantime decided to settle some particularly urgent matters on which the two High Contracting Parties have reached an agreement.

To this end, His Holiness Pope Paul VI and His Excellency Mr. Rómulo Betancourt, President of the Republic of Venezuela, have seen fit to appoint as their plenipotentiaries, respectively, His Excellency the Most Reverend Luigi Dadaglio, Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela, and His Excellency Dr. Mark Falcon Briceno, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who, having submitted their respective full powers, and recognized the authenticity of the same, have agreed as follows:

Article 1 

The Venezuelan government will continue to ensure and guarantee the free and full exercise of the Spiritual Power of the Catholic Church as well as the free and public exercise of Catholic worship in the whole of the Republic.

Article 2

The Venezuelan State recognizes the free exercise of the Catholic Church's right to proclaim Papal Bulls, Papal Briefs, Laws, Decrees , Encyclicals and Pastoral Letters within the area of its jurisdiction and to pursue its own aims. 

Article 3

The Venezuelan State recognizes the international legal personality of the Holy See and the State of Vatican City.

To maintain the friendly relations between the Holy See and the State of Venezuela, there will continue to be an Ambassador of Venezuela accredited to the Holy See and an Apostolic Nuncio in Caracas, who will be Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, accredited to the Government of Venezuela.

Article 4

The Catholic Church is recognised in the Republic of Venezuela as a legal person of public nature.

Also to enjoy legal personality when participating in civil life are the Dioceses, Cathedral Chapters, Seminaries, Parishes, Orders, Religious Congregations and other institutes of Christian perfection that are canonically recognized. 

Institutions and private entities which, according to canon law, have legal personality shall enjoy the same legal status with the state once they have met the legal requirements.

Article 5

The erection of new Archdioceses, Dioceses and prelature nullius and modifications of existing Church boundaries shall be made by the Holy See with prior agreement with the Government.

No part of Venezuelan territory will be under the jurisdiction of a Bishop whose headquarters are outside the borders of the Republic.

When a new Diocese is erected or its existing boundaries modified, care is to be taken that the diocesan boundaries coincide , where possible, with the political divisions of the national territory. 

Article 6

Before proceeding to appoint a diocesan Bishop or Archbishop or a Prelate Nullius or his Coadjutor with right of succession, the Holy See will inform the President of the Republic of the name of the candidate, so that he can indicate whether he has objections of a general political nature to the appointment. If there are objections of this nature, the Holy See will suggest the name of another candidate for the same purpose.

The corresponding measures will be conducted with the greatest discretion in order to keep secret the names of the candidates until the final appointment is announced. 

After thirty days from the communication made to the President of the Republic, silence shall be interpreted as meaning that there are no objections to the appointment. In exceptional cases, this period may be extended up to sixty days with the agreement of the Apostolic Nunciature.

Article 7

The Archbishops and diocesan Bishops and their Coadjutors with right of succession shall be Venezuelan citizens.

Article 8

Funding of the Dignitaries of the Metropolitan Chapters and Cathedrals is the responsibility of the Holy See.

But in view of what is stated in Article 11, the appointment will be officially communicated to the Government of Venezuela before the appointees assume office. 

If new ecclesiastical positions are created, Article 11 shall apply to them, once an agreement with the Government has been arranged.

Article 9

The canonries and lower benefices of Metropolitan Chapters and Cathedrals will be provided for by the competent ecclesiastical authority, in accordance with the norms of Canon Law .

The Ordinary of the place will give official notice of such appointments to the National Executive before the new appointees take canonical possession of the benefice. 

If new ecclesiastical positions are created, Article 11 shall apply to them, once an agreement with the Government has been arranged.

Article 10

The erection of new parishes will be made freely by the diocesan Ordinaries, who will inform the highest civil Authority of the jurisdiction the establishment and limits of the new Parishes, as well as changes in the boundaries of existing Parishes.

Article 11

The Government of Venezuela, within its fiscal means, will continue to earmark a Section of the Budget which will still be called Ecclesiastical Allowances for the decent support of Bishops, Vicars General and Ecclesiastical Councils .

Adequate budget allocation will also be used to run and contribute for the implementation of building works and conservation of churches, seminaries and places for the celebration of worship.

Article 12

The Government of Venezuela, in its efforts to support and incorporate civic life in the natives of the country who that inhabit regions on the borders or distant from population centres, will continue to provide special support and protection for the Catholic Missions established in some regions of the Republic.

The Holy See will officially inform the Government of Venezuela about the establishment of new Apostolic Vicariates or the division of existing ones. 

The Vicars Apostolic Prefects and the Superiors of the autonomous Missions shall be appointed by the Holy See, which will inform the Government of the appointment before it is announced.

Article 13

When in the judgment of the Ordinary there is a need for collaboration with Religious Institutes of men or women or with secular [i.e., non-monastic] priests of another nationality, in order to provide religious services to the faithful or to social services and public or private charities, the Ordinaries will request in writing their entry and stay in the country, which will be granted by the competent authority, so long as they have complied with the usual legal requirements.

Article 14

The Church may freely establish primary and secondary schools, both diocesan and inter-diocesan and other institutions for both lay and religious training, which are under the sole jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Authority in terms of administration, rules and study programmes. 

The State, acknowledging the specific purposes of the education provided by such Schools and Institutes, is willing to grant its equivalence to studies of [state] secondary education, provided the plan of these studies contains, under equal conditions, the subjects that make up secondary education.

Article 15

The Venezuelan State, in accordance with the Constitution, recognizes the right of Catholic citizens to organise to promote the spread and implementation of awareness and action of the principles of the faith and Catholic morals through associations of Catholic Action, under the jurisdiction of Ecclesiastical Authority, which will always keep out of any political party.

Article 16

The High Signatory Parties agree to settle amicably any differences that might arise in the future in the interpretation or application of any provision of this Convention and, in general, in the mutual relations between Church and State.

Article 17

This Convention,- equally valid in either Spanish or Italian - enters into force upon the exchange of ratification.

Once ratified, this Agreement will be the norm, as provided in Article 130 of the Constitution, governing the relationship between Church and State.

Caracas, March 6, 1964.



Convenio entre la Santa Sede y la República de Venezuela (1964)

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