by Antonello De Oto
The Co-Principality of Andorra – this is its official name – is a small member state of the UN and the Council of Europe whose very first traces can be traced back to 819 A.C. but which will see a real start only with the Arbitration Convention of 1278 A.C., confirmed the following year at the time of the pontificate of Pope Martin IV. A very ancient nation, nestled in the Pyrenees mountain range and bordering two major European states such as France and the Kingdom of Spain, a micro-State that covers a total of 462 square kilometers and is inhabited by about 90,000 people (of which only a third are Andorran natives). The two co-princes that jointly and indivisibly carry on the functions of Head of State are respectively the Bishop of Urgell and the President of the French Republic, a mixed secular-ecclesiastical diarchy that until the second half of the twentieth century governed with absolutist tradition of medieval derivation but which today, especially after the launch of the new Constitution in 1993, while maintaining the same form of State, has become a constitutional Co-Principality governed by a unicameral Parliament named Consell de 24. Andorra recognizes a special condition to the Catholic religion, maintaining diplomatic relations with the Holy See since 1975 and achieving in 2008 the signature of the Concordat. This document contains articles mainly concerning the status of the Bishop of Urgell, the legal status of the Catholic Church and canonical marriage in Andorra and the teaching of the Catholic religion in public schools. It should be notedthat the Country elementary administrative unit is defined as a parish, testifying to the foundational interaction between the confessional system and the state system. Also the regulations reported here, on the subject of containment and contrast to the pandemic by Covid-19, refer to an elaboration of the normative texts that is affected by special prudence with regards to the regulation of the religious factor and the exercise of worship.
*Professor of “Law and Religion”, University of Bologna (Italy)