Thursday, July 26, 2012

Czech Republic: Church Property Seized Under Communism May Be Returned

Saint Nicholas Church in Prague
A restitution bill, which calls for the return of Church property seized during the 40 years of communist reign, passed the Czech Republic's lower house parliament earlier this month, but must yet pass the parliament's upper house for the bill to be enacted.

Supporters view the move as a major step to end the legacy of Communism, but the opposition has pledged to block the legislation in the Senate.

If the bill is successfully put into law, around half of all Church property nationalized by the communist government (worth about $4 billion) would be returned, and any property that cannot be returned would be compensated financially (around $2.8 billion), over the course of the next 30 years.

Churches would, however, need to prove that they owned the property before Feb. 25, 1948, the day of the communist revolt. The Catholic Church would receive 80% of the property. Prague also pledges about $2.8 billion in cash compensation to the churches, split into 30 yearly payments.

“It‘s crucial that we’ve managed to agree on it,” Prime Minister Petr Necas said in separate remarks.

The Church property had been seized by the communist government between 1948 and 1989.

The web site is following this story, as proponents and opponents of the restitution prepare for a Senate vote later this summer.  

No comments:

Post a Comment