Prague, Aug 23 (CTK) – The Association of Towns and Villages will call on the Czech Bishops’ Conference (CBK) to withdraw the church lawsuits claiming municipal property similar to what it did in relation to regions, association head Frantisek Lukl told reporters after his meeting with Cardinal Dominik Duka on Tuesday.
Duka is Prague Archbishop and primate of the Czech Catholic Church.
The CBK decided in July that the Catholic Church would withdraw its property claims against the regions. The bishops also called on religious orders and congregations in the country to do so. The Teutonic Order, for instance, followed the recommendation.
The Association of Towns and Villages will demand at least a similar statements from the CBK concerning the property transferred to municipalities before 2006.
“We will turn to the CBK plenary session that should be held in October,” Lukl said.
However, the CBK claims that the situation of the property of municipalities and regions is different and that an agreement between the Czech Republic and the Holy See could help solve the problem.
“We have discussed the matter and agreed that the transfer of property to the regions’ ownership was naturally done through a bit different procedures than the transfer to municipalities and consequently not completely same conclusions can be drawn in both cases,” Lukl said.
The Supreme Court’s verdicts in these cases will play a significant role for further talks, he added.
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 will get most of the total sum, or 47.2 billion crowns plus inflation.
Under the law from 2012, the churches are to be given the financial compensation exactly for the property that cannot be returned since it was transferred to regions and municipalities.
However, churches have filed several hundred legal complaints against municipalities claiming the return of their property they owned before the 1948 communist coup and is now in the hands of towns and villages.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that the property transfer to regions and municipalities should not be questioned.