158 Law & Just. - Christian L. Rev. 30 (2007)
Legal Perspectives and Religious Perspectives of Religious Rights under International Law in the Vatican Concordats (1963-2004); Petkoff, Peter

handle is hein.journals/ljusclr158 and id is 32 raw text is: LEGAL PERSPECTIVES AND
RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVES OF
RELIGIOUS RIGHTS UNDER
INTERNATIONAL LAW IN THE
VATICAN CONCORDATS
(1963-2004)
PETER PETKOFF
'Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga com'6 bisogna che tutto cambi'
(If we want everything to stay the same everything must change.)
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. II Gattopardo
Introduction
The Vatican concordats signed after Vatican I1 represent a radical change in the
legal, political and theological discourse of the Catholic church in relation to the
international political community as well as in relation to those countries which are
party to a concordat. They also form a distinctive religious perspective on public
international law. They present the view that the system of public international law
is a tool with which to negotiate mutual terms between international actors and to
prevent tensions when there has been a breach of such terms. They see the human
rights system as something which protects religious rights but does not necessarily
define the substance of these rights. Finally, they demonstrate the importance of a
coherent theological justification for co-operation with the political community as
a basis for the success of such cooperation. While acknowledging that the reality of
a church, which has a coherent system of canon law and which is also a sovereign
subject of international law, is unique, the present text proposes that the study of
the concordats in the context of international law could be used as a starting (rather
than defining) point for exploring ways in which the religious perspective could be
relevant for understanding the dynamics of the religious rights' discourse under
international law.
Theologically, the post-conciliar concordats offer an Augustinian perspective on
society, which sees society as being on the move and marked by imperfection, and
this perspective marks a departure from the traditional notion of societas perfecta.
Politically, they signal a new process of collaboration with the political community
and social solidarity with various sections of society. Legally, being international
legal treaties, the concordats fully engaged the Catholic church with the rights

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