French court rules: remove cross on St John Paul’s memorial

A French court ruling over removing the cross above a statue of St Pope John Paul II has sparked a diplomatic row between Poland and France.

The Council of State, which is France’s top administrative court, says the cross violates a law passed in 1905. The law bans any “religious sign or emblem” on a public monument or space.

Poland says it will save the memorial from the “dictates of political correctness” by having it shipped to Poland.  John Paul was Polish.

Concern about the cross on the statue began in 2015. A local secularist group went to court about its presence on a monument in a public place. The court ruled the cross could remain on the monument.

A regional appeals court overturned the decision later that year.

The mayor of the Breton town where the statue stands is reported to be considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Another option the mayor mentioned suggests reclassifying the square around the statue as a private space.

A similar statue without a cross stands next to Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and has not been challenged.


News category: World.

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