Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who Should Own St. Vitus Cathedral? --
This fairly interesting Los Angeles Times article describes the dispute in the Czech Republic over the Prague cathedral that was taken over by the Communist government and which is now the subject of a dispute over who should own it.

Distilling the spiritual from the secular has proved difficult. A court ruled in 1994 that the cathedral belonged to the church, as it has for much of its history. The verdict was overturned on appeal. The church then offered to give the cathedral to the state but, in a bit of characteristic Czech defiance, the state refused, saying the building was not the church's to give. A district court ruled again in October in favor of the church. The state has appealed and a decision is expected this year.

The atmosphere has been further strained by the Czech Parliament's refusal to ratify a concordat negotiated between the Vatican and the state in 2002. Leftist lawmakers don't want to appear to be giving the church special treatment. That stance has also hindered church efforts to reclaim other valuable real estate nationalized by the communists.
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