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Czech bishoprics raised their real estate profit in 2016

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Prague, Nov 23 (CTK) – The Roman Catholic dioceses in the Czech Republic raised investments and the bishoprics’ revenues from their financial managements of real estate increased by 11 percent to 1.4 billion crowns in 2016, the Czech Bishops’ Conference representatives told reporters on Thursday.

The Catholic Church paid 114 million crowns in taxes for 2016, Karel Matyska, economic aide to the Czech Bishops’ Conference, said.

The Roman Catholic dioceses invested 1.1 billion crowns, a 20-percent year-on-year rise, and they spent another 0.9 billion crowns on education, health and social projects and heritage protection last year.

The total financial resources of the Roman Catholic dioceses, including their own profit and more than 0.8 billion crowns from gifts and fundraising, amounted to five billion crowns.

Last year, the dioceses spent 2.6 billion crowns on their employees’s wages and main activities.

Matyska said the present investments in real estate and funds should cover the costs of these wages and main activities in future after the state stops financially contributing to the operation of the churches.

“We try to make financial investments, however, our priority investments are in real estate because we try to manage the finances responsibly,” he said.

“We invested 625 million crowns in real estate last year,” Matyska said.

Plzen Bishop Tomas Holub said the church has higher incomes from renting flats than from arable land in spite of the widespread image of the Czech church as an owner of forests and fields.

The dioceses spent 4.8 billion crown in total in 2016, including investments. These data apply to the dioceses only, not to the expenditures of congregations and other church institutions.

The Roman Catholic Church invests a lot in heritage protection and church tourism and it employs up to 15,000 people, including schools and charity organisations.

The bishops said a considerable part of the church’s incomes goes to reconstructions of buildings used by schools. The church runs about a hundred schools, 60 through the dioceses and the rest through religious orders and congregations. Last year, the church invested 155 million crowns in schools.

According to the restitution law from 2012, churches are to be returned land and real estate worth 75 billion, confiscated from them by the communist regime, and given 59 billion crowns plus inflation in financial compensation for unreturned property during the following 30 years. Simultaneously, the state will gradually cease financing churches.

The Catholic Church tries to become self-sufficient by this time thanks to its investments.

At present, the state pays a financial contribution to the churches for their activities, but the sum has been decreasing year by year.

Last year, the state sent 848 million corns to the Roman Catholic dioceses alone, and 1.373 billion to all churches together.

The state will end paying subsidies to the churches in 2030 and financial compensation for their unreturned property in 2043.

Last year, the state paid 2.06 billion crowns in compensation for the unreturned property to all churches, 1.654 billion crowns of which went to the Catholic Church.

According to the state final account for 2016, apart from the money for priests’ salaries, the Culture Ministry paid 251 million crowns to the churches for heritage protection and live art, primarily, while the Education Ministry earmarked 1.44 billion crowns for church schools and children’s free-time activities organised by churches.

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