The statue of Pope John Paul II, featuring a cross which has to be removed under a French court order, will stay in Ploermel, in north-western France, instead of being transported to Hungary or Poland, Patrick Diffon, the local mayor, told the Thursday issue of the daily Magyar Idők.
The mayor expressed thanks to the Hungarian and Polish authorities for their offer to grant safe haven to the statue but ruled out that it would be removed from the town.
Earlier this year the Council of State, France’s top administrative court, ruled that the statue was incompatible with the 1905 law on the separation of state and church.
Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, said in early November that the Hungarian government was ready to pay for the costs of transporting the cross to Hungary.
Decisions restricting Christianity under the pretence of tolerance are “extremely harmful”, Szijjártó said of the ruling at that time.
A similar offer was made by Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, who called the one-time pope an excellent Pole and an excellent European, a symbol of Christianity and the united Europe. For this reason, she said, the statue has to be “saved from censorship”.
Asked about the future of the statue, the mayor told the paper, “I have still to think about it. I wish to make a decision under calm conditions, far from howling and anger, so that the memorial be kept in its current form at its current place. As John Paul II was a man of peace, we should also resolve this problem peacefully.”
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