Does religious freedom exist in Chile?

Yes. The State guarantees freedom of religion and worship in the terms established by the Political Constitution of the Republic.

What does the Constitution assure regarding religious freedom?

The Political Constitution ensures “freedom of conscience, the manifestation of all beliefs and the free exercise of all cults that do not oppose morality, good customs or public order.” Religious confessions may build and preserve temples and their dependencies under the conditions of safety and hygiene established by laws and ordinances.

Churches, denominations and religious institutions of any cult have the rights granted and recognized by the laws with respect to their property. The temples and their dependencies, destined exclusively to the service of a cult, will be exempt from all kinds of contributions.

What role does the State play?

The State guarantees that people freely develop their religious activities and the freedom of churches, confessions and religious entities.

Can there be discrimination based on religion?

No, no person may be discriminated against for their religious beliefs. Nor can a religious belief be invoked to suppress, restrict or affect the equality enshrined in the Constitution and the law.

What does the law understand by churches?

Churches, confessions or religious institutions are understood to be entities made up of natural persons who profess a certain faith.

What does freedom of religion and worship mean in practice?

It means that everyone can at least:

  1. Profess the religious belief that you freely choose or not profess any; express it freely or refrain from doing so; or change or abandon the one he professed;
  2. Practice in public or in private, individually or collectively, acts of prayer or worship; commemorate their festivities; celebrate their rites; have your weekly religious day of rest; receive a dignified burial upon death, without discrimination for religious reasons; not be forced to practice acts of worship or receive religious assistance contrary to their personal convictions and not be disturbed in the exercise of these rights;
  3. Receive religious assistance from your own religion wherever you are.
  4. Receive and impart religious teaching or information by any means; choose for themselves -and the parents for the minors or people under guardianship and care-, religious and moral education that is in accordance with their own convictions, and
  5. Meet or demonstrate publicly for religious purposes and associate to develop their religious activities as a community, in accordance with the general legal system and with the law of worship itself.


What does the full autonomy of churches and religious entities translate into?

It translates into the following powers of churches or religious entities:

  1. Freely exercise their own ministry, practice worship, hold religious meetings, and found and maintain places for these purposes;
  2. Establish your own internal organization and hierarchy; train, appoint, elect and appoint the corresponding persons to positions and hierarchies and determine their denominations, and
  3. Enunciate, communicate and disseminate, by word, in writing or by any means, their own creed and manifest their doctrine.

What can religions do by having legal personality?

Religious entities may create legal entities in accordance with current legislation. The churches and legal entities that make up may not be for profit.

Churches are empowered to:

  1. Autonomous founding, maintaining and directing institutes of formation and theological or doctrinal studies, educational, charitable or humanitarian institutions.
  2. Create, participate, sponsor and promote associations, corporations and foundations, for the realization of their purposes.


Must ministers of worship be accredited?

Yes, the ministers of worship of a church, confession or religious institution (such as priests and pastors) will accredit their quality as such through certification given by their religious entity, through the respective legal entity.

Can churches raise funds?

Religious entities may request and receive all kinds of donations and voluntary contributions, from individuals and public or private institutions. They can also organize collections among their faithful, for worship, the support of their ministers or other purposes of their activity.

However, the assets of these entities can never be transferred to any of their members, not even in the event of dissolution.


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