Saturday, 6 February 2010

On the whole, does the European Court of Human Rights 'defend' Catholic traditions? Part One


Inside the European Court of Human Rights

My last post posed a question; does the European Court of Human Rights defend Catholic traditions?


Last month, the European Court of Human Rights did well to instruct the Romanian Orthodox Church to restore schools and churches to their rightful owners: the Romania-based Greek Catholic Church. These Greek Catholic Church owned buildings were seized immediately after World War II, by the then Romanian Communist government, and made the property of the Orthodox Romanian Church. Perhaps a simplistic but distinction between the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Greek Catholic Church in Romania is that the former is an instrument of the government, whereas the latter obeys Rome.

The Court has also decreed that 23,000 Euro be given the Greek Catholic Church by the Romanian Government. The 23 grand is compensation for the fact that the Romanian government previously would not return the properties to the Greek Catholic Church. The Romanian government even tried to pass a law in 2008 that would confirm Orthodox ownersip over still-disputed Catholic places of worship.

The European Court have empowered the Greek Catholic Community, by re-establishing rightful ownership of a diverse list of buildings, from parish houses to cultural centres. The case before the European Court centred on property rights per se, not on freedoms to practice Catholic traditions, and was in essence a case of settling a large-scale property dispute.

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