Nearly two weeks after the celebration of his feast day, a French court has ordered the removal of a cross from a statue of Pope Saint John Paul II.
The statue was originally gifted to the mayor of Ploërmel, a city part of the Brittany region of northwestern France. The statue stands 25 feet tall, depicting John Paul II in prayer underneath an arch adorned with a cross on top.
The Conseil d’Etat, French for Council of State, is the head administrative court in France. After a decade long legal battle, they ruled the statue must be removed from public land as it violates a law from 1905 that imposes a strict separation of Church and state. They ruled the statue may remain, however the city of Ploërmel has six months to remove the cross from the top of the arch.
After learning of the ruling, Poland’s prime minister, Beata Szydło offered to relocate the statue in its entirety to “save it from censorship.” She also had to say that:
“Our great Pole, a great European, is a symbol of a Christian, united Europe. The dictates of political correctness and secularization of the state promote values which are alien to our culture, which leads to terrorizing Europeans in their everyday life”
The mayor of Ploërmel opposes the dismantling of the statue and said that “I have no desire to rekindle a war of religion.” He is open to the possibility of selling the land to a private investor to circumvent the ruling.