Stanisław Śliwonik sued the Archdiocese of Łódź for fees that were unduly collected from him: it was about “square”, that is, a place in the cemetery, consent to erect a monument and an additional fee for the entry of cars of men erecting the monument. The Curia decided to settle and will pay back nearly 90 percent of the amount – that is about PLN 2,400. – This is a breakthrough in the fight against cemetery exploitation – rejoice other residents of Brzeziny, who for years have been talking about too high prices for burials.
Stanisław Śliwonik paid over four thousand zlotys for the funeral of a loved one. The ceremony took place at the Brzeziny Cemetery (Łódź Province), which is managed by the Archdiocese of Łódź. According to the man, the amount charged by the curia was too high. It included, among other things, a fee for a place in the cemetery (in the amount of PLN 2,100) and for the consent of the curia to erect the monument and the entry of cars belonging to the construction team that was to erect it.
– In the end, my client paid the curia a total of about PLN 2,700 as part of unduly collected fees – says attorney Piotr Majewski, the man’s attorney.
The first hearing date has been postponed for formal reasons. On Monday, September 20, the case ended in a settlement. Stanisław Śliwonik reduced the amount of the dispute by around PLN 300, and the curia undertook to pay him around PLN 2,400.
– The compromise is that both sides had to give up something. I gave up a few hundred zlotys so as not to struggle anymore. I have no health for it anymore – said the man.
We have been informing you about the protests of the residents of Brzeziny in the Łódź Voivodeship in relation to the prices at the cemetery from 2019 on tvn24.pl. It started with a story Sławomir Pawlik, who buried his father at the Brzeziny cemetery. – I spent five thousand zlotys. For the same grave in Koluszki, less than 10 kilometers away, I would pay at least 1.5 thousand less – he enumerated.
Pawlik does not hide that the agreement on the part of the curia may be a good signal for other people who are fighting – as he calls it – “cemetery exploitation”. He founded a group on the Internet under this name, which is followed by one and a half thousand people.
– We hope that the curia will consider other claims in a similar way – emphasizes Pawlik.
Another resident of Brzeziny, Michał Baranowski, also living in Brzeziny, also sued the Archdiocese of Łódź. He emphasizes that the costs of his father’s burial in the cemetery were unreasonably overstated, and that he paid double for some services.
– I decided to go to court to recover the wrongly paid money and save others from similar costs in the future – said Michał Baranowski.
Curia: This is not an unequivocal situation
Until recently, the Curia referred to the arguments raised by the inhabitants of Brzeziny with some surprise:
– The situation is quite unusual. The cemeteries administered by the curia are located throughout the archdiocese, the same price list applies everywhere. Only in Brzeziny are we accused of exploitation. In my opinion, it is simply unfair – said Father Paweł Kłys, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Łódź, before the settlement.
The spokesman of the curia emphasized that the residents complaining about the high prices did not choose the cheapest forms of burial.
– At every step, we emphasize that in the event of financial problems, you can contact the curia, the price list will then be changed. It has never happened before that we have not adapted to the situation of families who have lost a loved one – he said.
On the argument that the cemetery in Koluszki is simply much cheaper, the interviewee of tvn24.pl emphasizes that you cannot compare communal cemeteries with those belonging to the Church.
– Local governments are obliged to designate areas for cemeteries. This is standard in almost every city. Meanwhile, there is simply no such cemetery in Brzeziny. The culprit of this state of affairs now is the Church, which has the right to administer its cemetery and has the same prices everywhere – commented the priest.
Even the Pope did not help
The arguments of the curia did not convince the residents who had previously sought help, inter alia, in the Vatican: at the beginning of last year, they sent Pope Francis a letter complaining about the high prices.
According to Pawlik, the letter was answered by the adviser of the Apostolic Nunciature in Italy, the papal adviser for general affairs and the secretary of state of the Holy See – Luigi Roberto Cona.
– He informed that the Holy Father had taken note of the issue presented to him, but “He does not personally and directly decide on such matters. They fall under the competence of the Bishop of the place” – quotes Sławomir Pawlik.
The inhabitants of Brzeziny are quite expensive
Main photo source: TVN24 Lodz