Concordats with individual states of Germany

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Concordats with individual German states were concluded even prior to the unification of Germany in the 1870s.

  • Bavaria 1817
  • Prussia 1821
  • Würtemberg, Baden, Hesse, Nassau, free city of Frankfurt, Mainz, Saxony, Oldenburg, Waldeck, Bremen and Lübeck 1821 (multilateral), and again 1827
  • Oldenburg 1830
  • Hannover 1834

In addition to the Reichskonkordat at the federal level, there are at present concordats between the Holy See and 13 German states (Länder). This is because the individual states of the German federation have competencies in legislation as to education, culture and, (partially), finance. In 1929 Prussia and the Holy See signed the Prussian Concordat (German: Preußenkonkordat) still valid for formerly Prussian territory within some of its successor states. Baden signed its concordat in 1932. The Reich's Concordat, affirmed as valid by West German jurisdiction in 1957, applied some contents of Baden's concordat to Hesse, Württemberg and the Diocese of Meissen, then comprising all of Saxony and parts of Thuringia.

German states with concordats are Baden-Württemberg (1932), Bavaria (1817–1924), Brandenburg (2003), Bremen (2003), Hamburg (2005), Lower Saxony (1965-1973-1989-1993), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (1997), North Rhine-Westphalia (1929-1956-1984), Rhineland-Palatinate (1929-1969-1973), Saarland (1929-1975-1985), Saxony (1996), Saxony-Anhalt (1998), Schleswig-Holstein (2009) and Thuringia (1997). Three states, Berlin (1970), Hesse (1963–1974), and Rhineland-Palatinate (1975), have agreements with Catholic bishoprics.[1]

There have been three separate waves of concordats.[2] The last one was set off by the dissolution of East Germany, when its 5 pre-war German states were reconstituted, joined the Federal Republic of Germany and entered agreements with the Holy See. Since then 3 of the northernmost German states, with a small Catholic minority, have also concluded concordats.

In recent years some of the educational provisions of the Bavarian concordat have aroused controversy. Protests were sparked by the Catholic Church veto in 2008 of an academically well-regarded nominee for president of Germany's only Catholic University.[3] This was made possible by Article 5 of the Bavarian concordat.[4] Another part of the same concordat, Article 3 on "concordat chairs" was unsuccessfully challenged in court in 2009.[5] This sets up Church-controlled professorships at state universities in theology, philosophy, pedagogy and the social sciences.[6]



  1. ^ List of current German Concordats (German)
  2. ^ “État et religions en Europe”, 2004, Prof. Francis Messner (English)
  3. ^ Church control over professors through the Bavarian Concordat (English summary with links to German sources)
  4. ^ ASC&kb_id=18381 Article 5 of the Bavarian concordat (English)
  5. ^ German newspaper accounts of the verdict against the concordat challenge which was handed down on 4 May 2009 (English)
  6. ^ Article 3 of the Bavarian concordat (English)