Not All is Well with Religious Equility in Italy Under Concordat

Not all is well with religious equality in Italy under the conditions created by the Concordat between the Vatican and the Italian state, notwithstanding the assurances of Premier Mussolini. The Catholics and non-Catholics in Italy are in agreement on this point. Catholic spokesmen repeatedly point out that the change in the status of the non-Catholic denominations, resulting from the Condordat, that is from the status of tolerated religions to recognized religions, actually makes little hold a similar point of view and some uneasiness is felt as it is realized that the conditions created by the Concordat are a step backward in the equality of treatment policy.

The advantages conferred on the Catholic church under the Concordat are most evident in the privileges accorded to it in the field of education and matrimony.

A point which illustrates the inequalitis function in accordance with the civil code.

The difference of status makes itself evident when the question of divorce or marriage annulment arises. As the legal situation stands today neither the canon nor the civil law allow divorce. The only way open for dissolution of marriages which proved failures is annulment. The perogative of annulment, however, is held by the Catholic ecclesiastical court. A rabbinical court, or, for that matter, any non-Catholic ecclesiastical authority has no authority to grant annulment decrees on similar grounds. A non-Catholic may obtain annulment only through application to the Civil Tribunal which is a difficult and complicated procedure. This creates not only a difference in treatment, since the Catholic canon law sanctions annulment in cases which the civil law does not admit.

It was because of this condition that the Jewish community of Italy ap- (Continued on Page 4)

It is further recalled in Italian Jewish circles that the sufferings of Italian Jewry during the Middle Ages was due to the power exercised by the church within the state and the supremacy of the church over and against the secular law and the civil government. It is recalled that the political emancipation of Italian Jewry was effected only after the separation of state and church.

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