Church Law Society

Společnost pro církevní právoSocietas Iuris Canonici

The 17th Annual Conference on Church and State at the Law School of Masaryk University in Brno

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 and surrounding countries who focus on legal matters of churches and their status in the state. The Church Law Review reported on the 16th conference, which took place on 7 September 2010, in its issue 47–3/10, at pp. 264 – 267.

The 17th conference took place at the Law School of Masaryk University in Brno on 6 September 2011. Its theme this year was Legal Aspects of Church Financing.

As it is each year, 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 eight presenters from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, and 45 attendees.

In addition to being attended by representatives of law schools, theological schools, philosophical schools and other university schools, and the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Administrative Court, the conference was also attended by a number of legal practitioners, for example the ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Holy See, representatives of the Catholic Prague Archdiocese, the Brno and Hradec Králové Dioceses, the Prague Diocese of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, and the leadership of the Silesian Evangelical Church AC.

The conference was opened by JUDr. Kateřina Šimáčková, Ph.D., a justice of the Supreme Administrative Court in Brno, the head professor of the fields of church law that are taught at the Law School of Masaryk University, and the chairperson of the Brno chapter of the Church Law Society. In her opening statements she welcomed the participants on behalf of Professor JUDr. Jan Filip, CSc., the head of the Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science. The conference was chaired by JUDr. Pavel Molek, Ph.D., from the Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science.

Professor JUDr. Jiří Rajmund Tretera of the Law School of Charles University in Prague opened the first panel with his presentation on forms of church financing and on the rules that govern the part of financing of churches and religious societies that emanates from their own resources, or so-called self-financing. He focused particularly on the experience accumulated and the rules governing in reformation churches. Mgr. Petr Jäger from the Department of Constitutional Law and Political Science of the Law School of Masaryk University in Brno, an assistant to a Constitutional Court justice, discussed Economic Autonomy of Churches. Assistant Professor Dr.iur. Wolfgang Wieshaider of the Law School of Vienna University (Austria) presented in Czech about Church Financing – Legitimate Goals and Avoiding Discrimination. The morning panel closed with a presentation by JCDr. PaedDr. Jozef Marčin, Ph.D., of the Metropolitan Church Court in Košice (Slovakia), who talked about Legal Aspects of Church Financing – Assessment of Current Developments and Considerations de lege ferenda.

The afternoon panel was opened by Mgr. Štěpán Štastník, an assistant to a Constitutional Court justice and an attorney with the Diocesan Church Court in Brno; he presented on the Canon Law Possibilities and Practice of Financing of the Catholic Church. JUDr. Jakub Kříž, of CEVRO Institute Prague, discussed Legitimate Expectations of Churches – Their Object and Impact. JUDr. Ing. Marie Kolářová, Th.D., the Chancellor of the Prague Archdiocese, talked about The Economic Council of the Catholic Church – Its Role and Responsibility. JUDr. Vojtech Vladár, Ph.D., of the Department of Roman and Church Law of the Law School of Trnava University in Trnava (Slovakia), contributed a legal-historical presentation on The Fiscal Politics of the Avignon Popes.

A discussion followed each panel and continued throughout the breaks. At 4 pm JUDr. Kateřina Šimáčková, Ph.D., thanked all conference participants and closed the successful 17th conference.

Záboj Horák