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Czech Catholics may soon get back almost all property

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Prague, Oct 16 (CTK) – The Catholic church may get back almost 100 percent of the property confiscated from it by the Communist regime in a few months’ time, general secretary of the Czech Bishopric Conference (CBK) Stanislav Pribyl told Czech Television on Sunday.

These is the property in the form of wood, fields and buildings for which no court dispute is being led. So far, the church gained back 70 percent of the claimed property.

What remains largely relates to the problems associated with geometric plans which are to measure the land fairly, Pribyl said.

Some 90 percent of the forests have been returned to the church, Pribyl said.

According to the law which took effect in 2013, churches are to be returned land and real estate worth 75 billion crowns, 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 will get most of the total sum, or 47.2 billion crowns plus inflation.

“I think that some tenth percent will always remain there because the last affairs are small plots with some complications, but this does not have any influence on the whole affair,” Pribyl said, adding that perhaps everything would be settled in six months.

Pribyl said the church was not doing the business from scratch, having the property it had received within the return of its property in kind.

Two investments funds have been established under the aegis of the CBK. One is the sustainability fund of the Catholic church with variable capital.

At the end of 2015, there were 588 million crowns there.

The second fund is largely assigned to buy agricultural property, Pribyl said.

The dioceses enter it as financial investors, he added.

“Each diocese and each religious order does business in their own right. There are already some results, Pribyl said.

In July, the bishops decided to withdraw their legal complaints against regional authorities in which the church demanded that the claimed property be defined.

They also asked the orders and congregations working in this country to follow suit.

Pribyl said on Sunday they had kept the commitment.

On October 1, 44 out of the 46 complaints against the regions were withdrawn, he added.

The forthcoming session of the Chamber of Deputies will debate the proposal to tax a part of the property returned to the church and contributions to church activities, presented by the Communists (KSCM) and the Social Democrats (CSSD).

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