If Catholic bishops in Germany were to be declared in schism amid a row over same-sex blessings and other doctrinal issues, the German government would recognize them to have lost the right to both oversee their dioceses and to administer the billions collected annually in the country’s Church tax, an expert in Church-state relations told The Pillar.
The reason? Well, here’s where it gets kind of weird — the reason is because of the Reichskonkordat, a 1933 treaty signed between the Holy See and Germany’s Nazi government, which remains in force today.
German law “recognizes the juridical status of the Catholic Church in Germany, and the Holy See’s role of supervision and nomination of bishops,” explained Fr. Goran Jovicic, a professor of both theology and canon law at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California.
Jovicic is an expert in Church-state relations and the diplomatic relationships of the Holy See.
“It would be contrary to the agreement between the two sovereign entities for the German government to go against, or fail to respect, the judgment of the Holy See,” he said.
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