AskDefine | Define concordat

Dictionary Definition

concordat n : a signed written agreement between two or more parties (nations) to perform some action [syn: covenant, compact]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A formal agreement between two nations; a compact
  2. (often capitalized) An agreement between the Pope and a government that recognizes and regulates Catholic affairs
    • 1820, Theodore Lyman, The Political State of Italy
      That eminent and independant statesman, Count Louis of Medicis, concluded a concordat with cardinal Gonsalvi, at Terracina, on the 16th February, 1816, probably the most humiliating instrument to which the Roman court has been forced to submit since the fall of the Bonapartes.
    • 1846, William Scott, The Christian Remembrancer
      The Concordat of the See of Rome with King Diniz is the most interesting ecclesiastical epoch […].
    • 2000, Bruno Kreisky, Matthew Paul Berg, The Struggle for a Democratic Austria: Bruno Kreisky on Peace and Social Justice, page 486
      Later, he also promoted a significant degree of reconciliation between the Austrian social democratic movement and the Roman Catholic Church through the negotiation of the 1960 Concordat.

Extensive Definition

A concordat usually refers to an agreement between the Apostolic See and a government of certain country on religious matters, although it is also used in relation to some other agreements in internal United Kingdom politics.

Papal concordat

This often included both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country. Privileges might include the right to have Catholic schools, exemptions from certain legal matters and processes, and issues such as taxation as well as the right of a state to influence the selection of bishops within its territory. Although formally the term 'concordat' was last used in 1980, concordats and similar type agreements between the Vatican and both national and international bodies such as the European Union, continue to be made.
The Vatican has been particularly vocal on issues of abortion in Ireland and Portugal, and in attempting to ensure references to Christianity in the prospective EU constitution. Less high profile are agreements concerning taxation and partial state funding of Catholic owned institutions such as orphanages, homes for the elderly and hospices for those suffering from AIDS.

United Kingdom

The term is also used for agreements setting out the framework for co-operation between United Kingdom government departments and the Scottish Government and the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales: for examples see DEFRA. In other jurisdictions such as Australia and the United States, the term Memorandum of Understanding, often just MOU, is more prevalent.

List of concordats

This type of formal agreement is generally no longer used by the Vatican, the last classic concordat, with Spain, having expired in 1980. A different model of relations between the Vatican and various states is still evolving in the wake of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae.


Some secularists have criticised concordats as being opposed to religious freedom.
concordat in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Канкардат
concordat in Bosnian: Konkordat
concordat in Czech: Konkordát
concordat in Danish: Konkordat
concordat in German: Staatskirchenvertrag
concordat in Spanish: Concordato
concordat in Estonian: Konkordaat
concordat in Finnish: Konkordaatti
concordat in French: Concordat
concordat in Croatian: Konkordat
concordat in Italian: Concordato
concordat in Japanese: コンコルダート
concordat in Dutch: Concordaat
concordat in Norwegian: Konkordat
concordat in Polish: Konkordat
concordat in Portuguese: Concordata
concordat in Russian: Конкордат
concordat in Serbo-Croatian: Konkordat
concordat in Slovak: Konkordát
concordat in Slovenian: Konkordat
concordat in Swedish: Konkordat
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