Print Version    Email to Friend
Pope John Paul under the ax

PARIS (SE): Why western nations get indignant about China removing crosses from churches in Zhejiang and other parts of the country but think it is fair enough to remove them in their own backyards can be a bit of a mystery.
However, the Conseil d’Etat in France (Council of Administration or Discipline) has judged that a monument honouring Pope John Paul II in the city of Ploermel, which features a large arch with a crucifix on top, violates the principle of separation of Church and state.
The court is giving authorities in the city six months to chop down the cross, with the stern warning that otherwise vengeance will strike and the whole monument will be destroyed.
But whether it be for religious or patriotic reasons is not immediately clear, Poland has objected to the memorial of its beloved son being tampered with.
The deputy foreign minister, Konrad Szymaski, called the French decision extraordinary and accused Europe of denying Christians their identity.
“Europe boasts of being open to all possible identities, but as it turns out, it is all but Christian, which is key for Europe,” La Croix quoted him as saying.
Radio Poland reported on October 31 that Polish members of the European Parliament have asked the European Commission to intervene. They labelled the French court’s decision religious discrimination.
The prime minister, Beata Szydo, said on October 9 he will try to save the sculpture from censorship by possibly saving it from the demolition team’s dynamite and have it moved to Poland.
“Our great Pole, a great European, is a symbol of a Christian, united Europe. The dictate of political correctness—secularisation of the state—makes room for values which are alien to our culture, which leads to terrorising Europeans in their everyday life,” she said.
The monument was sculpted by Georgian-Russian artist, Zurab Tsereteli. It was erected in 2006. The cross included in the artwork has always been contentious.
Sochaczew, a town west of Warsaw, announced it would happily accept the statue, describing the court decision as reminiscent of totalitarianism.
The French may not like it in China, but have no problems with it at home.

More from this section