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Catholic Dictionary




An official agreement between the Pope, in his spiritual capacity as visible head of the Catholic Church, and the temporal authority of a state. Commonly accepted as a contract between Church and State, it is a treaty governed by international laws and has been used by the Holy See since the early Middle Ages. The earliest agreement called such was the Concordat of Worms (1122), by which Pope Calixtus II and Emperor Henry V (1081-1125) put an end to the struggle over lay investiture. the best known in modern times was the Lateran Treaty of 1929. After World War II a number of concordats were abrogated by Communist regimes. (Etym. Latin concordatus, a thing agreed on.)