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Content for Poland

Chaplain leads parliamentary rainmaking

Poland's parliamentary and presidential chapels are state-funded and have their own Catholic chaplain. They offer religious services on topics of current political interest and afford clerics privileged access to the lawmakers. And in the summer of 2006 the parliamentary chapel was the scene of what was greeted with mirth as a rainmaking ceremnony.

The Polish Bishops' rules for leaving the Church

The Polish Bishops claim to want to “standardise the interpretation of the [Vatican] guidelines” when they erected these special barriers for Poles to leave the Universal Church, many of which would not likely be tolerated elsewhere. Most are nowhere to be found in the 2006 Vatican note to the bishops telling them in general terms to keep control of the process and not let it be handled by the state.

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Finances

 How did the Catholic Church became the biggest landowner in democratic Poland? For a good summary, see the news article, Poland’s Property Commission on Trial for Deals that Handed Millions to Catholic Church (2013) 


Poland gives land and money to Church while a quarter of its children go hungry (2008)

The Polish Government can afford to subsidise Church influence in every corner of society, from salaries for the chaplains in the civil service, to holiday pay for the monks and nuns teaching religion in state schools. Yet it is unable to provide free school lunches for Polish children, a quarter of whom are malnourished. This is an itemised list of state subventions to the Church for 2008. The numbers will change from year to year, but the categories are likely to remain the same.

The Property Commission (1989-2011) — Church land grab secured by the concordat

Poland's concordat removes Church land claims from parliamentary control. For two decades the Property Commission, which compensated the Catholic Church with land and money, accepted the Church valuation of the land it wanted. Yet the often drastic undervaluation could not be challenged in any Polish court. In 2004 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that this let the Polish Property Commission violate the right to a fair trial.

Double compensation for Church land claims

In 1950 the Communists set up a “Church Fund” to compensate the Polish Church. But after accepting this, the Church demanded more, and not only compensation for land still in Poland, also for land now in Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine, as well as for land formerly owned by the Catholic Church in Germany. By 2004 the Church had lost 87,000 hectares and got “back” 94,000. Finally in 2011 Poland ended this by closing down the Property Commission which for 20 years had been effectively set its own prices for land returned to the Church.

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Education 

How the Polish bishops' 1999 evanglisation plan for schools and universities is being implemented step by step.


 

Landmark decision: “The stroke is illegal”

The European Court for Human Rights has struck a blow for religious freedom in Poland. In a ruling of 15 June 2010 the Court ruled that religious freedom in theory is not enough. It must be put into practice. The creeping evangelisation in state schools must stop, and the ECHR has given Poles the legal tools to fight against this. This ruling is final, as there will be no appeal.

Creeping evangelisation in state schools

Although unwanted by most parents, Catholic Religious Education (catechism) has been inserted stepwise into Polish state schools. In June 2010 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that this violated religious freedom. Two translated newspaper articles report on what's happening in Polish state schools.

Timeline: How catechism got into Polish state schools (1990-2010)

Bit by bit over twenty years, the Church has moved far beyond the education clause in the current concordat which guarantees catechism in state schools only where it is requested. Now, in practice, catechism is often compulsory, as it was officially in the 1925 concordat.* To see what this list means in terms of the pupils and their futures, see “Creeping evangelisation in state schools”.

“Stork, bring me a bundle”: Sex education in Poland (2009)

The Polish government decided in 2009 that compulsory sex education is unconstitutional. A report released the same year reveals what actually goes on in these ― now optional ― classes. Youngsters have been taught that homosexuals should be quarantined and cured, that contraception is an invention of Satan, and that condoms can lead to impotence. 

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Concordat texts 

Total found: 32
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