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Church Fund in the government’s crosshairs. Donald Tusk’s order on the establishment of an inter-ministerial team in Monitor Polski

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The future of the Church Fund is at stake. On Thursday, the order of Prime Minister Donald Tusk on the establishment of an inter-ministerial team on this matter was published in Monitor Polski. The first report is to be presented to the Council of Ministers by March 31, 2024.

The team’s tasks include carrying out analyzes and developing a concept for changing the functioning of the Church Fund and changing the rules for financing social security contributions and benefits and health insurance for clergy, charitable, educational and care activities of churches and other religious associations, as well as reconstruction, maintenance and renovation of facilities. sacral and church buildings of historic value.

The next task of the team is to present proposals for actions, including legislative ones, resulting from the developed concept.

Order No. 5 of the Prime Minister of January 11, 2024 regarding the Interministerial Team for the Church Fund

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Team composition

The chairman of the team is the Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of National Defense or the Secretary of State or Undersecretary of State designated by him.

Additionally, the team included: the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Interior and Administration, the Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy, the Minister of Civil Society, the Head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and the President of the Government Legislation Center, or secretaries or undersecretaries of state designated by these ministers.

“The Chairman of the Team may invite, on his own initiative or at the request of a member of the Team, to participate in the work of the Team, with an advisory vote, representatives of bodies, entities, institutions or organizations other than those mentioned in § 3 points 1 and 2, whose knowledge and experience may be used in the implementation of the Team’s tasks,” we read in the document.

The document also states that team meetings will be convened at least once a month.

The team chairman will present the first report to the Council of Ministers by March 31, 2024.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced the establishment of an inter-ministerial team on changing the financing system of the Church Fund, including the rules for financing retirement and disability benefits for clergy on December 27, 2023.

Donald TuskPAP/Rafał Guz

Church Fund

The Church Fund was established under the Act of March 20, 1950 on the state’s takeover of the property of the dead, guaranteeing parish priests the ownership of agricultural farms and establishing the Church Fund.

According to the original assumptions, it was supposed to be a form of compensation for churches and other religious associations for land properties taken over from them by the state. An estate was to be created from the confiscated properties, the income from which was to be divided among the Churches in proportion to the size of the confiscated properties.

Fr. prof. Dariusz Walencik from the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Opole told PAP that this assumption was never implemented.

– The number of seized properties, their value and the income they brought were never estimated. In fact, from the very beginning, the Church Fund was simply a subsidy entered into the budget act every year,” he explained.

He added that currently the Church Fund is used by all religious associations operating legally in Poland, including those that did not operate in Poland in 1950 and did not lose any properties then. There are a total of 185 such religious associations.

In the years 2012-2013, work was carried out, which resulted in the preparation of a working project and an agreement between the Polish Episcopal Conference and the government of the Republic of Poland. The project was submitted for public consultation, after which the work was interrupted and has not been resumed until now.

In the draft state budget for 2024, the Church Fund is to amount to PLN 257 million.

Main photo source: PAP/Rafał Guz



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