Pursuant to the Competence Act (Act No. 2/1969 Coll., on the establishment of ministries and other central State administrative bodies of the Czech Republic, as amended), the Ministry of Culture is the “central State administrative body for … matters concerning churches and religious societies”.
The main object of activity of the Ministry of Culture in this respect is set by
the Act No. 3/2002 Coll., on churches and religious societies, and Act No. 218/1949 Coll., on State economic support for churches and religious societies, as amended.
Pursuant to the Organisational Rules of the Ministry of Culture, the tasks of the Ministry of Culture set by the above-mentioned Acts fall within the competence of the Churches Department of the Ministry.
Similar to all other departments of the Ministry of Culture, the Churches Department deals primarily with the following tasks.
- It fulfils the tasks of the Ministry of Culture set by laws and other legal regulations; it follows these legal regulations, resolutions of the Government and directions and instructions of the Minister and his Deputies within their framework.
- At their request, it provides the necessary co-operation to departments competent to draw up draft opinions of the Ministry of Culture.
- Within its competence, the Churches Department primarily:
a) provides an overview of matters within its competence, analyses the results obtained and evaluates them, takes measures within the scope of its powers aimed at the solution of topical issues, or submits proposals for their solution at the level of the Deputy Minister or Minister, prepares proposals for the Minister’s orders and his other decisions;
b) prepares a strategy of activities within its competence; in particular, it submits draft new or amending legal regulations that are to be added to the legislative plan of the Ministry; when preparing draft legal regulations, it follows the Legislative Rules of the Ministry of Culture;
c) ensures the fulfilment of tasks of the Minister resulting from his constitutional status, including controlling and management functions, ensures the fulfilment of tasks of the Ministry of Culture resulting from the Government’s programme declaration and resolutions, as well as tasks following from international agreements;
d) provides comments on draft legal regulations, international agreements and other materials, which are on the agenda of Government meetings, if requested by the relevant department;
e) prepares programmes through which the Department contributes to the protection of freedom of religion, either itself or in co-operation with other bodies;
f) within the scope of its powers and within the set budget, it grants subsidies to civic organisations and churches and religious societies; the subsidies are granted on the basis of public tenders and the recommendation of the relevant selection committee, whose operation the Department ensures;
g) plans its tasks and provides information on the results obtained and on important problems concerning its operation to the senior officers of the Ministry;
h) at the meeting of senior officers of the Ministry of Culture, it submits proposals for the solution of problems common to several departments;
i) provides information pursuant to Act No. 106/1999 Coll., on free access to information, and the methodical instructions of the Information Office of the Ministry of Culture;
j) provides interpretation of the legal regulations drafted by it and applied by it applies within the scope of its competence.
Within its competence related to “matters of churches and religious societies”, the Churches Department deals, in particular, with the following tasks:
a) prepares long-term strategies for the arrangement of relations between the State and churches and religious societies and the strategy for implementing freedom of religion in the Czech Republic;
b) registers churches and religious societies, associations of churches and religious societies, as well as changes to essential documents, and revokes such registration;
c) registers legal entities and revokes their registration;
d) keeps complete documentation of all administrative procedures related to the registration of churches, religious societies and associations of churches and religious societies, as well as registered legal entities;
e) creates a database of basic information on churches and religious societies for the needs of the Ministry of Culture;
f) manages the funds granted pursuant to the applicable regulations to churches and religious societies for payment of the personal allowances to the clergy personnel, costs of church administrations, overhead costs of churches and religious societies, maintenance of church real estate;
g) discusses and approves budgets of churches and religious societies;
h) assigns identification numbers to registered churches and religious societies, their associations and legal entities registered by the Ministry of Culture, controls them and takes action related to their dissolution;
i) keeps the Register of Churches and Religious Societies, the Register of Associations of Churches and Religious Societies and the Register of Religious Legal Entities as part of the basic registers of economic entities;
j) ensures that the parts of the registers open to the public, which are submitted to the registers of the Czech Statistical Office of the Ministry of Finance and published on the internet, are correct and up-to-date;
k) in co-operation with the substantively competent governmental authorities, verifies documents presented for the purpose of the registration of churches and religious societies and associations of churches and religious societies, and checks whether these meet the requirements set by law for the operation of registered churches and religious societies, registered associations of churches and religious societies and registered legal entities.
The Churches Department is divided into two divisions, the Registration Division and the Economic Division. Both divisions fulfil all the tasks described in paragraph 3 hereof. Within its competence related to “the matters of churches and religious societies”, the Registration Division deals primarily with the tasks described in the previous paragraph under subparagraphs a) to e) and i) to k); the Economic Division of the Churches Department deals primarily with the tasks described in the same paragraph under subparagraphs a), e) to g) and k). The Churches Department employs 12 persons (director, assistant, 6 employees of the Registration Division and 4 employees of the Economic Division).