CHURCH – STATE – FINANCES
A proposal of the government is a pseudo-reform
The governmental proposal of the amount of a tax deduction for the Church is not acceptable – said Bishop Wojciech Polak during a presentation of the common project of six Catholic weeklies – a special supplement ‘Church – state – finances’.
The amount of the governmental proposal – 0,3 percent – tax deduction for the Church in return for the liquidation of the Church Fund is too low. – We hope that both parties – the church and government, ‘will meet’ between 0,3 and 1 percent. – explained Bishop Wojciech Polak, a general secretary of the Polish Episcopal Conference during the press conference. He also noted that a transitory period between the introduction of the tax deduction and a complete liquidation of the fund is needed. As an argument he gave an example of the first year of existing Organisation of Public Benefit, when very few tax-payers took advantage of the possibility of tax deducting and, at present, after 8 years, 38 percent of them take advantage of it.
A lawyer from the University of Opole, Fr. Prof. Dariusz Walencik noted that the legal system, on which the cooperation of the state and the Church is based, should be reformed because there is much legislation in it, which are not valid and very old. – The Church fund is only one detail. Therefore, instead of speaking about a reform, today we are talking about a pseudo-reform – noted Fr. Walencik.
A historian Dr. Andrzej Grajewski reminded about the genesis of the beginning of the Church Fund, emphasizing that it was a form of compensation for the property grabbed from the Church by communist authorities in 1950. This property, passed over to the Church by the faithful for hundred years, did not serve to getting rich by the Church, it was not a subject of trade, but it served to the society via various ecclesiastical works. As much as the state should care about public money of its citizens, the Church has the same duty towards the faithful. So, the agreement to the conditions proposed by the government would be analogical to resigning from a part of property which the Church used to get for its disposal from the faithful. - We cannot do it – emphasized Bishop Polak. – Calculating it onto 0,3 percent is not proportional to losses. Therefore, I hope that the governmental party will understand it and an agreement will be possible to reach.