Religious Policy and the Charitable Activities of Churches in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary after 1989
Keywords:religious policy, state-church relationship, church charities, Churches in Poland, Churches in the Czech Republic, Churches in Hungary
The article discusses the religious policy of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary with regard to the charitable activity of Churches. The analyses refer to current regulations concerning the state-church relationship, adopted as a result of political changes in the examined countries after the breakthrough of the 1980s and 1990s. It presents the formal and legal framework of the Churches’ charitable activity resulting from the provisions of constitutions, international agreements, and ordinary laws. In all of the countries under study, church charities benefit from legal regulations providing for their involvement in the sphere of social welfare, in cooperation with state and local government administration. The area of activities where this involvement is supported by the state is the provision of broadly understood social services. The size or political standing of a particular Church do not play any major role in establishing the conditions of such cooperation. Similarly, the level of religiousness in a society is irrelevant for the possibility of such cooperation, as is demonstrated by the example of the secularised Czech Republic.