Poland
 National Profiles > > Regions > Eastern Europe > Poland
Search National Profiles:

Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1997
Last Amended not amended
Source International Constitutional Law (ICL)
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Preamble

Having regard for the existence and future of our Homeland,
Which recovered, in 1989, the possibility of a sovereign and democratic determination of its fate,
We, the Polish Nation - all citizens of the Republic,
Both those who believe in God as the source of truth, justice, good and beauty,
As well as those not sharing such faith but respecting those universal values as arising from other sources,
Equal in rights and obligations towards the common good - Poland,
Beholden to our ancestors for their labors, their struggle for independence achieved at great sacrifice, for our culture rooted in the Christian heritage of the Nation and in universal human values,
Recalling the best traditions of the First and the Second Republic,
Mindful of the bitter experiences of the times when fundamental freedoms and human rights were violated in our Homeland,
Desiring to guarantee the rights of the citizens for all time, and to ensure diligence and efficiency in the work of public bodies,
Recognizing our responsibility before God or our own consciences,
Hereby establish this Constitution of the Republic of Poland as the basic law for the State, based on respect for freedom and justice, cooperation between the public powers, social dialogue as well as on the principle of aiding in the strengthening the powers of citizens and their communities.
We call upon all those who will apply this Constitution for the good of the Third Republic to do so paying respect to the inherent dignity of the person, his or her right to freedom, the obligation of solidarity with others, and respect for these principles as the unshakeable foundation of the Republic of Poland.


Article 25

(1) Churches and other religious organizations shall have equal rights.
(2) Public authorities in the Republic of Poland shall be impartial in matters of personal conviction, whether religious or philosophical, or in relation to outlooks on life, and shall ensure their freedom of expression within public life.
(3) The relationship between the State and churches and other religious organizations shall be based on the principle of respect for their autonomy and the mutual independence of each in its own sphere, as well as on the principle of cooperation for the individual and the common good.
(4) The relations between the Republic of Poland and the Roman Catholic Church shall be determined by international treaty concluded with the Holy See, and by statute.
(5) The relations between the Republic of Poland and other churches and religious organizations shall be determined by statutes adopted pursuant to agreements concluded between their appropriate representatives and the Council of Ministers.


Article 48

(1) Parents shall have the right to rear their children in accordance with their own convictions. Such upbringing shall respect the degree of maturity of a child as well as his freedom of conscience and belief and also his convictions.
(2) Limitation or deprivation of parental rights may be effected only in the instances specified by statute and only on the basis of a final court judgment.


Article 53

(1) Freedom of faith and religion shall be ensured to everyone.
(2) Freedom of religion shall include the freedom to profess or to accept a religion by personal choice as well as to manifest such religion, either individually or collectively, publicly or privately, by worshipping, praying, participating in ceremonies, performing of rites or teaching. Freedom of religion shall also include possession of sanctuaries and other places of worship for the satisfaction of the needs of believers as well as the right of individuals, wherever they may be, to benefit from religious services.
(3) Parents shall have the right to ensure their children a moral and religious upbringing and teaching in accordance with their convictions. The provisions of Article 48(1) shall apply as appropriate.
(4) The religion of a church or other legally recognized religious organization may be taught in schools, but other peoples' freedom of religion and conscience shall not be infringed thereby.
(5) The freedom to publicly express religion may be limited only by means of statute and only where this is necessary for the defense of State security, public order, health, morals or the freedoms and rights of others.
(6) No one shall be compelled to participate or not participate in religious practices.
(7) No one may be compelled by organs of public authority to disclose his philosophy of life, religious convictions or belief.


Article 85

(1) It shall be the duty of every Polish citizen to defend the Homeland.
(2) The nature of substitute service shall be specified by statute.
(3) Any citizen whose religious convictions or moral principles do not allow him to perform military service may be obliged to perform substitute service in accordance with principles specified by statute.


Article 130

The President of the Republic shall assume office upon taking the following oath in the presence of the National Assembly:
"Assuming, by the will of the Nation, the office of President of the Republic of Poland, I do solemnly swear to be faithful to the provisions of the Constitution; I pledge that I shall steadfastly safeguard the dignity of the Nation, the independence and security of the State, and also that the good of the Homeland and the prosperity of its citizens shall forever remain my supreme obligation."
The oath may also be taken with the additional sentence "So help me, God."


Article 151

The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and ministers shall take the following oath in the presence of the President of the Republic:
"Assuming this office of Prime Minister (Deputy Prime Minister, minister) I do solemnly swear to be faithful to the provisions of the Constitution and other laws of the Republic of Poland, and that the good of the Homeland and the prosperity of its citizens shall forever remain my supreme obligation."
The oath may also be taken with the additional sentence "So help me, God."


Article 188

The Constitutional Tribunal shall adjudicate regarding the following matters:
1) the conformity of statutes and international agreements to the Constitution;
2) the conformity of a statute to ratified international agreements whose ratification required prior consent granted by statute;
3) the conformity of legal provisions issued by central State organs to the Constitution, ratified international agreements and statutes;
4) the conformity to the Constitution of the purposes or activities of political parties;
5) complaints concerning constitutional infringements, as specified in Article 79(1).


Article 191

(1) The following may make application to the Constitutional Tribunal regarding matters specified in Article 188:
...5) churches and religious organizations;
...


Article 233

(1) The statute specifying the scope of limitation of the freedoms and rights of persons and citizens in times of martial law and states of emergency shall not limit the freedoms and rights specified in Articles 30 (the dignity of the person), 34, 36 (citizenship), 38 (protection of life), 39, 40, 41 (4) (humane treatment), 42 (ascription of criminal responsibility), 45 (access to a court), 47 (personal rights), 53 (conscience and religion), 63 (petitions), as well as Articles 48 and 72 (family and children).
(2) Limitation of the freedoms and rights of persons and citizens only by reason of race, gender, language, faith or lack of it, social origin, ancestry or property shall be prohibited.
(3) The statute specifying the scope of limitation of the freedoms and rights of persons and citizens during states of natural disasters may limit the freedoms and rights specified in Articles 22 (freedom of economic activity), 41 (1), (3), and (5) (personal freedom), 50 (inviolability of the home), 52 (1) (freedom of movement and sojourn on the territory of the Republic of Poland), 59 (3) (the right to strike), 64 (the right of ownership), 65 (1) (freedom to work), 66 (1) (the right to safe and hygienic conditions of work) as well as Article 66 (2) (the right to rest).

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.