Concordat in Alsace-Moselle

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The Concordat in Alsace-Moselle is the part of the Local law in Alsace-Moselle relating to the official status accorded to certain religions in these territories.

This Concordat is a remnant of the Napoleonic Concordat of 1801. The 1801 Concordat was abrogated in the rest of France by the law of 1905 on the separation of church and state. However, at the time, Alsace-Moselle had been annexed by Germany, so the Concordat remained in force in these areas. The Concordat recognises four religious traditions in Alsace-Moselle: the Jewish religion and three branches of Christianity: Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed. Therefore the separation of church, the famous French concept of Laïcité, does not apply in this region. [1]

Several French governments have tried to repeal the Concordat, but none have succeeded. On 21 February 2013, the Constitutional Council of France once again upheld the Concordat, reaffirming its validity, in response to an appeal from a secularist group which claimed that the Concordat in Alsace-Moselle contradicted the secular nature of the French Republic.[2] [3]

Religious education[edit]

Under the Concordat, religious education is compulsory in French schools, at both primary and secondary level, although parents can opt for a secular equivalent, by a simple written procedure. These religious education lessons are actually given by members of the faiths concerned.


Religious ministers in Alsace-Moselle (pastors, priests and rabbis of the four recognised faiths) receive a salary from the Interior Ministry, which, by virtue of the 1993 Lang-Cloupet agreement, is linked to civil service salary scales. [4] In 2012, this was said to be costing the French state 54 million euros per year. [5] They also quality for unemployment benefit. The Bishops of Metz and Strasbourg are appointed by decree of the President of the Republic, after agreement with the Holy See. This makes France the only country in the world where Catholic bishops are appointed by the head of state. Chief rabbis and presidents of the Jewish and Protestant consistories are appointed by the Prime Minister. Ministers of the three Christian churches are appointed by the Interior Minister.

Theology faculties[edit]

The University of Strasbourg includes two faculties of theology, one Protestant, the other Catholic. These are the only theology faculties in France, although the University of Lorraine in Metz also has a theology department. Both faculties are responsible for training ministers for their respective religious traditions. The Catholic faculty comes directly under the authority of the Holy See, and the diplomas that it awards are recognised by the Holy See as canonical.

Other religions and religious traditions[edit]

There have been a number of attempts to extend the coverage of the Concordat to recognise other religions, notably Islam, as well as other branches of Christianity. [6]


  1. ^ "Church-state tie opens door for mosque". New York Times. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  2. ^ "French challenge to exception of Alsace Moselle from separation law fails". National Secular Society. 2013-02-28. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  3. ^ "L'Alsace-Moselle garde le concordat". Le Figaro. 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  4. ^ "Ecjs - Cas Particulier De L'Alsace-Moselle". Dissertations gratuites. February 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  5. ^ "Le Concordat fragilisé par la laïcité ?". L'Alsace. 2012-10-14. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  6. ^ ""Je ne remettrai pas en cause le régime concordataire", dit François Hollande". 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2013-11-02.