Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Catholic Church is Losing its Status as National Church in Liechtenstein

Vaduz (kath.net/KNA)  The separation of Church and State in the Principality of Liechtenstein has taken another step.  In the Parliament of Vaduz 19 of the 25 representatives voted for the new law on religious association, as the Swiss media reported on Friday.

The law is the central element of the new organization of the relationship between State and Church.  Additionally there are constitutional revisions with the Catholic Church losing its special position as the National Church, as well as the concordat with the Holy See.

The Constitutional alteration will be put in effect in 2013 before the newly elected parliament.  Passing a fundamental law requires two further proceedings as well as pass with a two thirds majority.

In the new law regarding the recognition of religious societies, the Evangelical Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church will be included. Over 75 percent of the 36,000 inhabitants are Catholic;  50 years ago it was still 90 percent.

The Archdiocese of Vaduz, which includes the entire territory of the small country, was established in 1997 by the Vatican.  A law from 1870 served as a legal precedent.

In the second reading the Parliament decided to establish the religious declaration at 14 years of age; in Switzerland it is set at 16.  It was additionally decided to restrict obligatory religious instruction in school to the primary school.

The recognized national religious communities will be financed by a mandated tax.  Those obligated to pay the tax can determine to which community his portion of tax will flow.

The government of Liechtenstein has stated that the prescribed religious communities shall receive 2 percent of the wealth and tax income of the nation and the community.  This corresponds roughly to less than three million euros per year.

The Concordat as applied to the property rights will be divided at the community level.  The Principality and the Vatican have already united on the level of negotiations.  Originally the signing of the agreement was planned for 12 December.  For "reasons of a deadline" they will probably not take place till the beginning of January 2013, it is said.

Link to kath.net...

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