Churches in the Czech Republic are concerned that the compensation they were to receive for persecution suffered during the Communist regime is now in jeopardy after the resignation of the Prime Minister.
Stefan J. Bos
8/14/2013 Czech Republic (BosNewsLife)- The Czech Republic is facing uncertainty after the government headed by Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok resigned, paving the way for early elections. Tuesday’s official announcement comes while churches were seeking compensation for properties that were nationalized by the previous Communist regime when devoted Christians and their leaders were persecuted.
Churches hope to receive back their properties that were taken by the previous Communist regime.
Bishop Duka said he told Prime Minister Rusnok that the “continuity of the restitution process needs to be maintained so that all the deadlines set by law are met.”
It is unclear how the resignation will impact that process, which has been criticized by the opposition.
Under the law on property settlement between the Czech state and churches, which was introduced in January, some 17 churches and religious organisations will receive back land and real estate worth 75 billion crowns ($3.9 billion), confiscated from them by the Communist regime when the country was still part of Czechoslovakia.
They will be given 59 billion crowns ($3 billion) adjusted to inflation in financial compensation for unreturned property during the following 30 years.
Most of the property would go to the Catholic Church, church observers said.
At the same time the payment of state subsidies that churches now receive will be gradually reduced until it is completely terminated after 17 years, according to plans. Yet there is concern within the churches about possible delays and opposition in what is considered Europe’s most atheistic nation and concerns over the economy.
The political tensions could not have come at a worse moment for the Czech republic as it struggles to recover from recession.