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European Court of Justice: Dbk, “the ruling that explains why the Churches are entitled to make differences” between prospective staff “based on religious belief” is helpful

According to the German Bishops Conference (DBK), “the explanation of the Court, that state courts are not generally entitled to judge the ethos of a religious community” is helpful. This morning, in a notice, the general secretary of the DBK, father Hans Langendörfer, commented the European Court’s ruling, posted this morning, about the controversy between Vera Egenberger and the Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung. “The Court decided that the Churches are still entitled” when hiring staff “to make differences based on religious belief”, the note explains. “It is the Church that defines its own identity, and such decision cannot be left to the state or to a state Court”, father Langendörfer comments. “In the past, the Catholic Church in Germany explained, in its regulations, if and for what jobs its employees’ religious belief would be a decisive factor for employment, and so far it has always made sure it never puts any undue pressure on its staff”. On its part, the Catholic Church “will thoroughly investigate the reasons behind the ruling and will find out if and to what extent its hiring procedure should be adapted, and what legal steps must be considered”, the note goes on. It will be up to civil courts to review each single case in the light of this EU ruling.

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