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Le cadre juridique

The Luxembourgish Constitution establishes the system of State-Church separation. Civil marriage must always precede the nuptial benediction (art. 21). The Constitution protects the religious liberty value frame both in its positive and negative form. Particularly, the freedom of religion (or of no-religion : art. 20), and of public worship as well as freedom to express one’s religious opinions are guaranteed (art. 19). The State, in line to the religious neutrality doctrine, respects in principle the organizational structures of the religious communities and cannot interfere in their internal affairs. The framework regulating the relations of each cult with the State is the subject of conventions between the parties involved and submitted to the Chamber of Deputies (art. 22). The State is responsible for paying the salaries and pensions of religious ministers of the recognised cults (i.e. the communities which have signed a Convention with the State authorities) (art.106). Moreover, the State subsidies the religious groups for covering certain expenses (e.g. constructing or maintaining church buildings). In effect, the religious communities functioning within Luxembourg are distinguished in two groups : a) the officially recognised ; and b) the non-recognised communities.

The religious groups belonging to the first category have legal personality under public law. These are : a) the Catholic Church (1801 Concordat, which is at least theoretically still in effect in line to art. 119 of the Constitution) ; b) the Jewish community ; c) the Protestant Church ; d) the Protestant-Reformed Church ; e) the Greek-Orthodox Church ; f) the Anglican Church ; g) the Serbian-Orthodox Church ; and h)the Rumanian-Orthodox Church. The Muslim community has not yet signed a Convention. Despite that fact, it receives a modest State subsidy. As a non-recognized cult, its representative body is organized as a legal personality under private law. The same legal status applies to the Russian-Orthodox Church as well as some other communities (e.g. the Jehovah Witnesses). According to the proposition of the Luxembourgish Chamber of Deputies, the criteria for concluding an agreement with a religious community and, thus, recognise it officially should be :
 It should have a relatively large number of faithful within Luxembourg ;
 It should be a world known cult ;
 It should be already officially recognised by at least one member-state of the European Union ;
 It should accept and respect the Luxembourgish legal system.

For further information :
 The publications of the European Consortium of Church and State Research,
 Philippe Poirier, ‘State and Religions in Luxembourg : A “Reconciled” and “Secularized” Democracy’, in François Foret and Xabier Itçaina (eds), Politics of Religion in Western Europe Modernities in Conflict ?, Abingdon : Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science, 2011, pp. 91-98,
 Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg/ Ministère d’État Département des Cultes, Rapport du groupe d’experts chargé de réfléchir sur l’évolution future des relations entre les pouvoirs publics et les communautés religieuses ou philosophiques au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, octobre 2012.

D 26 mai 2021    AKonstantinos Papastathis APhilippe Poirier

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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