Espaly: the Masonic lodge denounces subsidies to the Saint-Joseph statue

The construction site is subsidized by public authorities to the tune of 80%. Archive photo © Christophe Coffy

In an open letter addressed to the prefect of Haute-Loire, the Masonic lodge of Réveil Anicien (Grand Orient de France) points out the public subsidies allocated to the current renovation of the Saint-Joseph statue, in Espaly-Saint-Marcel. And to question the State representative on the conformity of the sums allocated with respect to the law of 1905 relating to the separation of Church and State.

Usually very discreet, the Masonic lodge of Réveil Anicien came out of its reserve a few days ago to denounce the public subsidizing of the building and the attack, according to it, on the principle of secularism. For the record, the current construction site for the Saint-Joseph statue, to erase the ravages of time, amounts to nearly 1 million euros with 80% public funding. Le Réveil Anicien deplores in particular the fact that the site “cannot be considered a place of worship” and therefore cannot receive subsidies as well as the use of a decree established in 1942 under Marshal Pétain in order to justify the amounts allocated by communities and in particular the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region. “This is certainly not the first time that a religious building has been the subject of public subsidies. Three situations can arise. The first concerns buildings for which communities are responsible: this is the case, for example, of parish churches which municipalities have owned since the Revolution. The second case concerns all religious buildings classified as historic monuments. The third case, finally, concerns the decree of the Pétain regime. In it, it is said that “sums allocated for repairs to buildings used for public worship, whether or not they are classified as Historic Monuments, are not considered as subsidies”. It is this last argument that is currently being put forward by public financiers. Indeed, the statue of Saint-Joseph belongs to the diocese of Puy, and is therefore neither a public building nor a historic monument.
And the letter from the Vellave lodge continues: “Not only does it seem unacceptable to us to rely on a decree of anti-republican inspiration, but in this specific case we contest its use for a religious building which is in no way, in itself, a place of worship. »
Last May, a petition launched by trade unionists, members and supporters of political parties, community activists and ordinary taxpayers had already made headlines to denounce the use of public funds to renovate the statue of Saint Joseph of Good Hope. Le Réveil Anicien asks the prefect of Haute-Loire “to provide a public response to the questions we ask ourselves. »

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