The Nazi-Catholic Concordat (1933)


Extracts from the Nazi-Catholic Concordat, signed by delegates of the Catholic Church and the Nazi government, in July 1933:


“His Holiness Pope Pius XI, and the President of the German Reich, moved by the common desire to consolidate and promote the friendly relations existing between the Holy See and the German Reich… have decided to conclude a solemn agreement supplementing the concordats concluded with individual German States and also ensuring for the remaining states a fundamentally uniform treatment…

Article 1

The German Reich guarantees the freedom of the profession and public practice of the Catholic religion. It recognises the right of the Catholic Church, within the limits of the law that applies to all, to regulate and administer her own affairs independently, and, within the framework of her competence, to publish laws and ordinances binding on her members.

Article 3

In order to foster good relations between the Holy See and the German Reich, an Apostolic Nuncio will as heretofore reside in the capital of the German Reich and an Ambassador of the German Reich at the Holy See.

Article 4

In its relations and correspondence with the bishops, the clergy and other members of the Catholic Church in Germany, the Holy See enjoys full freedom. The same applies to the bishops and other diocesan officials in their relations with the faithful in all matters pertaining to their pastoral office. Instructions, ordinances, pastoral letters, official diocesan gazettes, and other enactments regarding the spiritual guidance of the faithful issued by the ecclesiastical authorities within the framework of their competence may be published without hindrance…

Article 9

The clergy may not be required by judicial and other authorities to give information concerning facts that have been confided to them while exercising their pastoral duties and therefore come under the pastoral obligation to preserve secrecy…

Article 14

1. Catholic clergy who hold an ecclesiastical office in Germany or who exercise pastoral or educational functions must:
(a) be German citizens,
(b) have obtained a diploma entitling them to study at a German higher institution of learning,
(c) have finished at least 3 years of philosophical and theological study at a German state university, a German ecclesiastical academic institution or a pontifical institution of higher learning in Rome.

Article 15

Orders and religious associations are subject to no special restrictions on the part of the State, with regard to their foundation, establishment, the number and the characteristics of their members, their activity in pastoral work, in education, in nursing and charitable work, in the ordering of their affairs and the administration of their property…

Article 25

Orders and religious congregations are entitled to establish and conduct private schools, within the framework of the general laws and conditions fixed by law. These private schools confer the same rights as the State schools in so far as they meet the requirements in effect for the latter with respect to the curriculum…”