Interview with Fr.W.Jasi?ski #169; fawleycourt Interview with Fr.W.Jasi?ski © fawleycourt
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Interview with Fr.W.Jasi?ski


nr.22 12 June 2009

translated from Polish

The Sale - God Willing?

Fawley Court will be sold and the decision is irrevocable says Fr Wojciech Jasinski, delegate of the Polish Provincial and head of the Marian Fathers Congregation in Fawley Court.

After the last attempt by the polish community to persuade the congregation of Marian Fathers to stop the sale, the controversy around the heart of polish causes in Great Britain has come up again. On Sunday, two weeks ago, more than a thousand people came to Fawley Court to pray for the priests to change their decision. The Polish Community has, since the start of the negotiations regarding the sale of the property, maintained that it has a right to participate in determining its future.

The Congregation of the Marian Fathers claims that the funds for the purchase of the Fawley Court property came from the Congregation. The Polish Community begs to differ. It maintains that it co- funded the purchase of Fawley Court. How can this be explained ?

W.Jasinski: We are aware of the fact that the so-called Divine Mercy College Aid Committee collected funds to buy part of the land. This Committee collected £3 200. and took a loan which they subsequently repaid. At the time the Marian Fathers already had a £5 000 mortgage with the Temperance Building Society, for the purchase of the main building and 27 acres of land, the price of which was then £10 750. This land was later donated to the Marian Fathers without any endorsements stipulating that in case the land was sold the proceeds should be returned to whomever. Never the less, since the beginning we have stated that the part of the proceeds from the sale will be designated for the benefit of the Polish Community.

For the benefit of The Polish Community is a very broad statement. To whom, in fact, would the money go?

W.J.: We have not as yet taken any decisions. The time will come for that .For the time being we are trying to cool down emotions to avoid stirring up hostility among Polish organizations.

What about the rest of the sum? Will it go back to the Marian Fathers?

It will go back to the Marian Fathers, and be used for general purposes related to the pastoral and evangelical activities of the roman catholic church. It is not the case that we will take the money and live happily ever after. Together with some lay catholics we are considering creating a place for pregnant women in need where they could phone, come in and get help and support . It would also make it easier for us to start working with other english Pro Life organisations.
Will proceed of the sale be used to support the Shrine in Liche??

There is no need for that. At present, Liche? finances many projects undertaken by the Congregation. Obviously there are no funds to maintain this place (Fawley Court translators note) and even if we had the funds, we do not see the point in putting money into the buildings when the pastoral mission of the place has actually come to an end.

The mission of Fawley Court was once the education of the young generation. Now when there are so many young Poles in England, is there no such need anymore?

Education of the young Polish generation is certainly important, but Fawley Court is simply not suited for a polish public school. I do not actually believe that an expensive public school is needed. It is also worth looking at the history of Fawley Court. Since the beginning, it ran at a loss. I have read the notes and minutes of meetings of the priests running the school, they show that closing down the school had been considered as early as in 1957, because the priests in charge were unable to maintain it. It is symptomatic that from the first to the last day, the school had financial and personnel difficulties. It was a foolhardy impulse, many aspects were not thought through. Various donations were made for the running of the school, one of which was Whitsun , when a collection was taken. Is this the financial contribution of the Polish Community for the upkeep of the centre or it is rather a donation? If people consider this to be their financial contribution, than here seems to be the root of the misunderstanding and conflict between us. The establishment needs general renovation, and the construction of a new complex of buildings to replace the old dilapidated wooden ones. The cost of this would come to millions of pounds. There is no chance to recoup such an investment because our activities are not for profit. We would have to convert it into a hotel, but that is not our mission. Apart from that sixty percent of our income comes from the people who are not connected with Christianity or Polish causes.

There were several offers to buy Fawley Court, but I am primarily interested in two of them. The first for £22 million and the second for £14 million less, offered by Polish Catholic Mission in England and Wales. Have the Marian Fathers accepted the first offer because it was more attractive financially even though the second offered the chance to keep Fawley Court in Polish hands and to continue its role as a Polish Centre.
-First of all, I cannot confirm any figures you have mentioned. For over two years we negotiated with the Polish Catholic Mission, whom we informed, in 2006, of our intention to sell Fawley Court. Father Rector asked us then to give him a year for the purpose of consultating with the Polish Community and to collect the necessary funds. We presented our conditions, but the Polish Catholic Mission rejected them. We could not accept such a low offer. Besides they did not presented us with any realistic financial project for Fawley Court to be used for the religious pastoral purposes. We avail ourselves of both canon law and civil law. The Polish Catholic Mission is aware that there are rules within the Church, which regulate the sale of the Church property
Who is the second investor?

-A British company, but I cannot disclose its name.

-I am going to ask you in the name of the protesters, is there any chance for Fawley court not to be sold?

-There is none. I understand that it is difficult for people to accept but under English law when contracts have been exchanged, the sale has taken place. I look with sadness at the action, which they have organized. I have nothing against the fact that one thousand people came but if they were to come every Sunday, than this centre would be still
alive and we would not be facing this difficult decision. We are not doing it
for the money, but of course we have to be rational. I know that people will be scandalised by what I am saying but for me the most important thing is responsibility for the Church and its financial matters.

The deconsecration of the Church of St.Ann standing on ground blessed by Karol Wojty?a is also causing controversy among Polish People.

-This is again not true. The local Bishop, Charles Grant the Ordinary of the Northampton Diocese, consecrated the Church on the 6th May 1973. I have no idea of where people got this idea of Karol Wojty?a from. May be he blessed some ground, or
Made a sign of the Cross somewhere in Kraków. Deconsecrating is a difficult moment for us as well. There is a canon within Canon Law that states, that if there is such a need, the Bishop can take a decision to deconsecrate a church, so it can be used for civil purposes. We considered God’s Will and made the right decision albeit a difficult one

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