Each year since 1995 at the beginning of September the Law School in Brno has hosted a full-day scientific conference entitled “Church and State”; it is attended by experts from throughout the Czech Republic who focus on legal matters of churches and their status in the state.
The 16th annual conference took place on 7 September 2010. Similar to last year, the conference again had a central unifying theme; this year it was “Marriage, Children and Family Life in a Religious Plurality State”.
The conference was organized by the Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science of the Law School of Masaryk University in cooperation with the Church Law Society. There were nine lecturers who presented papers and almost 50 participants, which was a record participation in the history of the conference.
In addition to experts from schools of law, theology, philosophy and other schools there were several representatives from legal practice and some students.
The conference was opened by JUDr. Kateřina Šimáčková, Ph.D., justice of the Supreme Administrative Court, who also teaches at the Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science and is the head professor of the fields of church law that are taught at the Law School of Masaryk University. The participants at the conference were greeted by Professor JUDr. Jan Filip, CSc., the head of the Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science in Brno, and Professor JUDr. Jiří Rajmund Tretera, the chairman of the Church Law Society.
The conference was chaired by JUDr. Pavel Molek, Ph.D., from the Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science.
The first panel on “Marriage” was opened by JUDr. Záboj Horák, Ph.D., from the Legal History Department of the Law School of Charles University in Prague; he presented a historical overview of the forms of marriage in the Czech lands. Mgr. Petr Jäger from the Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science of the Law School of Masaryk University in Brno discussed the perspectives of the new Civil Code on church marriages. Mgr. Jakub Kříž from the Department of Churches of the Ministry of Culture spoke about covenant marriage in the legal system of the United States. JUDr. Miloš Holub, Ph.D., an attorney from Prague, presented “Several Considerations on Divorce”.
The second panel on “Parents and Children” was opened by Professor JUDr. Jiří R. Tretera from the Law School of Charles University in Prague; he discussed the religious freedom of children and its safeguarding in the legal system of the Czech Republic. Mgr. Kamila Bubelová, Ph.D., the head of the Department of Legal Theory and Legal History at the Law School of Palacký University in Olomouc, talked about the confl ict between the right of a parent to raise a child and the right of the child to freedom of religion from both the secular and religious perspectives.
The third panel on “Canon Law” began with Mgr. Monika Menke, Th.D., from the Church Law Department of the Sts Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology of Palacký University in Olomouc speaking about the form of marriage in the Catholic Church in the Czech Republic. Docent Damián Němec, Dr., presented his paper on the changes in the Code of Canon Law in 2006 and 2010 concerning marriage of “faithless Catholics”. JUDr. Ing. Marie Kolářová, Th.D., the Chancellor of the Prague Archdiocese, explained the treatment of the validity of a civil marriage in canon law. Each panel was followed by a discussion.
The participants at the conference included among many others the following guests: JUDr. Pavel Vošalík, the ambassador of the Czech Republic at the Holy See, PhDr. Jiřina Štouračová, the chairperson of the Moravian-Silesian Christian Academy, Mons. Jiří Mikulášek, the General Vicar of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Brno, ICDr. JUDr. Stanislav Přibyl, Ph.D., from the Theological School of the South Bohemian University in České Budějovice and a judge of the Metropolitan Church Court in Prague, JUDr. Jiří Palla, Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court, JUDr. Metoděj Dudák, a lawyer from the Brno Diocese, JUDr. Michael Kučera of the Hussite Theological School of Charles University in Prague, JUDr. Michal Lamparter, Ph.D., a longtime organizer of the Conference on Church and State in Brno, Mgr. Štěpán Šťastník, a clerk to a Justice of the Constitutional Court and a permanent attorney to the Diocesan Church Court in Brno, Docent JUDr. Zdeňka Králíčková, Ph.D., from the Law School of Masaryk University, Mgr. Ladislav Vyhnánek, from the Law School of Masaryk University, Mgr. Stanislav Hykyš, legal advisor to the Czech Bishops’ Conference, and Mgr. Petr Šimůnek, from the Office of the President of Charles University.