Religious Liberty Law of Spain
General Act 7 of 5 July 1980.
B.O.E. no. 177, 24 July 1980.
Translation prepared by the Spanish Ministry of Justice.
H.M. Juan Carlos I, King of Spain
May all men know by these presents:
That Parliament has enacted and I ratify the following General Act:
1. The State guarantees the fundamental right to freedom
of worship and religion recognized by the Constitution, in accordance with
the provisions of the present Act.
2. Religious beliefs shall not occasion unequal
or discriminatory treatment under the Law. No one may be deprived
of any occupation or activity or public positions or employment for reasons
3. No faith shall be the official State religion.
1. The freedom of worship and religion guaranteed by
the Constitution secures the right, which may therefore be exercised by
all without duress, to:
a) Profess whatever religious beliefs they freely choose or
profess none at all; change or relinquish their faith; freely express their
own religious beliefs or lack thereof or refrain from making any statement
in such regard.
2. It also comprises the right of Churches, Faiths and
Religious Communities to establish places of worship or assembly for religious
purposes, appoint and train their ministers, promulgate and propagate their
own beliefs and maintain relations with their own organisations or other
religious faiths, within the national boundaries or abroad.
b) Take part in the liturgy and receive spiritual support in their
own faith; celebrate their festivities; hold their marriage ceremonies;
receive decent burial, with no discrimination for reasons of religion;
be free from any obligation to receive spiritual support or participate
in religious services that are contrary to their personal convictions.
c) Receive and deliver religious teaching and information of any kind,
orally, in writing or any other means; choose religious and moral education
in keeping with their own convictions for themselves and any non-emancipated
minors or legally incompetent persons, in and outside the academic domain.
d) Meet or assemble publicly for religious purposes and form associations
to undertake their religious activities in community in accordance with
ordinary legislation and the provisions of this General Act.
3. To ensure true and effective application of these
rights, public authorities shall adopt the necessary measures to facilitate
assistance at religious services in public, military, hospital, community
and penitentiary establishments and any other under its aegis, as well
as religious training in public schools.
1. The rights deriving from the freedom of worship and
religion may not be exercised to the detriment of the rights of others
to practise their public freedoms and fundamental rights or of public safety,
health and morality, elements which constitute the order ensured under
the rule of Law in democratic societies.
2. Activities, purposes and Entities relating to
or engaging in the study of and experimentation with psychic or parapsychological
phenomena or the dissemination of humanistic or spiritualistic values or
other similar non-religious aims do not qualify for the protection provided
in this Act.
The rights recognised in this Act, practised within
the limits indicated herein, shall guarantee effective legal protection
before ordinary Courts and constitutional protection before the Constitutional
Court under the terms stipulated in the General Act related thereto.
1. Churches, Faiths and Religious Communities and their
Federations shall acquire legal personality once registered in the corresponding
public Registry created for this purpose and kept in the Ministry of Justice.
2. Registration shall be granted by virtue of an
application together with an authentic document containing notice of the
foundation or establishment of the organisation in Spain, declaration of
religious purpose, denomination and other particulars of identity, rules
of procedure and representative bodies, including such body’s powers and
requisites for valid designation thereof.
3. Entities relating to a given religious Entity
may only be cancelled at the request of its representative bodies or in
compliance with a final court sentence.
1. Registered Churches, Faiths, and Religious Communities
shall be fully independent and may lay down their own organisational rules,
internal and staff by-laws. Such rules, as well as those governing
the institutions they create to accomplish their purposes, may include
clauses on the safeguard of their religious identity and own personality,
as well as the due respect for their beliefs, without prejudice to the
rights and freedoms recognised by the Constitution and in particular those
of freedom, equality and non-discrimination.
2. Churches, Faiths and Religious Communities may
create and promote, for the accomplishment of their purposes, Associations,
Foundations and Institutions pursuant to the provision of ordinary legislation.
1. The State, taking account of the religious beliefs
existing in Spanish society, shall establish, as appropriate, Co-operation
Agreements or Conventions with the Churches, Faiths or Religious Communities
enrolled in the Registry where warranted by their notorious influence in
Spanish society, due to their domain or number of followers. Such
Agreements shall, in any case, be subject to approval by an Act of Parliament.
2. Subject to the principle of equality, such Agreements
or Conventions may confer upon Churches, Faiths or Religious Communities
the tax benefits applied by ordinary legislation to non-profit Entities
and other charitable organisations.
An advisory Committee on Freedom of Worship is hereby
created in the Ministry of Justice whose membership, which shall be stable,
shall be divided equally between the representatives of the Central Government
and of the corresponding Churches, Faiths and Religious Communities or
their Federations including, in any case, those that have a notorious influence
in Spain, with the participation as well of persons of renowned competence
whose counsel is considered to be of interest in matters related to this
Act. Such Committee may have, in turn, a standing commission whose
membership shall be likewise equally apportioned.
The functions of such Committee shall consist of reviewing, reporting
on and setting forth proposals with respect to issues relating to the enforcement
of this Act and such intervention shall be mandatory in the preparation
and recommendations for the Co-operation Agreements or Conventions referred
in the preceding article.
The State acknowledges the legal personality and full legal capacity
of the religious Entities in possession thereof on the date the present
Act enters into force. Beginning three years thereafter, they may
substantiate their legal personality only via certificate of enrollment
in the Registry referred to herein.
SECOND TRANSITIONAL PROVISION
When applying for legal recognition, Religious Associations
which, pursuant to the provisions of Act forty-four/nineteen hundred sixty-seven
of the twenty-eight day of June, had expressly claimed to own real or other
kinds of property whose full and effective conveyance is subject to public
registration, where ownership thereof has been registered in the name of
third parties and those which, having lodged this statement of property
with the Government apply for legal registration thereof pursuant
to the provisions of the present Act may, within one year’s time, normalise
the legal status of such property, by delivering the documents attesting
to their ownership of property appearing under the names of intermediaries
or by using any other legal procedure to substantiate their rights, until
the corresponding deeds are registered in the Registry of Deeds, and such
registration shall be exempt from all taxes, fees and rates that may be
levied on conveyance or the documents or action generated on the occasion
Act forty-four/nineteen hundred and sixty-seven of
the twenty-eighth day of June as well as any other legal provisions that
contradict the terms of the present Act are hereby repealed.
The Government, at the proposal of the Ministry of
Justice, shall establish any such regulatory provisions as may be necessary
for the organisation and operation of the Registry and the Advisory Committee
on Freedom of Worship.