Moves towards Authentic Freedom. Church and State in Switzerland, and Beyond

Saint Anselm Journal 10 (2):47-64 (2015)
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Many of the Swiss Cantons have regulated the relations between church and state by establishing, in their public law, corporations at the levels of the municipality and of the canton. The role and the rights of these corporations, especially obligatory membership in them, is the object of ongoing political and legal debate. Both on the side of the courts and of the church, the present system has come under scrutiny, while the corporation representatives and also a majority of the population seem intent on maintaining it. This paper explains and examines the presently valid church-state relations, focusing on the Canton of Zurich, and looks at the suggestions for reform elaborated by an experts’ commission instituted by the Conference of Swiss Bishops. In conclusion, it presents some more general reflections on the challenges to individual and corporative religious freedom today, in Switzerland and beyond.
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