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The autonomy of religions from the state: the normative framework

[journal article]

Carp, Radu

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Abstract The principle of the autonomy of religious cults from the state is found in many of the Constitutions of European states and it has also been asserted by ECHR. In the case of Romania, this principle was noted for the first time by the 1869 Organic Statute of the Romanian Greek Orthodox Church of Hungary and Transylvania. This was not the case after 1918 when the term autonomy cannot be found in the 1923 Constitution, the 1928 Law on the general regime of religions or in the 1925 Statute of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The period of the communist regime marked the same absence of Church autonomy from the state in constitutional or canonical law. Only with the 1991 Constitution this principle is constitutionally guaranteed by Article 29, paragraph 5. This Article investigate the principle of autonomy from the perspective of Constitution and canon law comments, taking into account also the Law no. 489/2006 on the freedom of religions and the general regime of cults and the 2008 Romanian Orthodox Church Statute. A particular aspect of the autonomy, the right of religious denominations to have their own jurisdictional bodies is discussed by analyzing relevant provisions of the law and the Statute mentioned above and also the interpretations of the courts and the Constitutional Court. The conclusion is that the idea of autonomy is shaped in such a way to mirror a reflection in the canon law of the way in which the separation and balance of powers are conceived in constitutional law.
Keywords autonomy; canonical or ecclesiastical law; jurisdiction; constitution; religion; Romania; historical development; communism; Orthodox Church; religious freedom; national state; church
Classification Sociology of Religion; Law
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 349-357
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 10 (2010) 2
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works