‘No’ to state funding for Divine Providence complex
PR dla Zagranicy
Over 100 people demonstrated, Saturday, against the state financing of the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw, which is set to become one of Poland’s most important national and religious symbols.
Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
“Collect your own money” and “No money for God’s home? Try the Vatican Bank” headlined some of the protest banners outside the Sejm parliament buildings.
The move comes after this week’s budget debate in parliament, which rubberstamped some PLN 16 million (around EUR 4 million) earmarked for the continuation of the construction project.
The money is set to be put aside from the culture budget for the “undertaking of activities in the cultural sphere, including the Museum of John Paul II and the Temple of Divine Providence”.
The protest was organised by the liberal publication Liberté!, whose editor-in-chief Leszek Jazdzewski collected signatures to petition Polish senators against state funding “under the pretences of supporting a museum”.
“This budget correction, which was voted for in the Sejm [lower house of parliament] under cover of the night […] is not yet law, as it still has to be passed by the Senate and signed off by the president,” Jazdzewski said, adding that there is still time to protest against the motion.
“We appeal to Senators to return the funds to Polish culture, rectify the mistake made by the Sejm and leave matters of religious cults to their own adherents,” the Liberté! petition reads.
“Subsidising religious organisations with state funds is against Polish law,” the appeal reads, adding that “it is a public secret that local government and culture ministry financing of the museums contained in the Divine Providence complex are in fact used to build a place of cult worship”.
The Centre of Divine Providence has a chequered history in Poland, with the idea to build such a temple conceived merely days after the signing of Poland’s first constitution in 1791.
The Temple is set to become one of the most important Roman Catholic sites in the country, and will be a votive church commemorating over 1,000 years of Christianity in Poland.
Apart from housing a church, the complex is also to house a museum dedicated to Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, known as Poland’s ‘Primate of the Millennium’, as well as a Pantheon to Great Poles. (jb)