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June 25, 2021

More churches, less schools and hospitals

Statistics show that state and local communities prefer to invest in building churches, in the detriment of hospitals and schools, a study published by Romania Libera shows. The study reveals the fact that, after 1989, there were build an average of 200 churches per year, while schools number decreased on a worrying rate of 1,000 per year and hospital beds’ number decreased with 4,000 per year. Specialists show that church structures have won back a lot of the lost ground during the communist regime over the past two decades, as church was “a contract the greatest capitalist leaders have signed with divinity.”

In the years following the Revolution, there were built 4,000 new churches, in a rhythm of one church per two days, APADOR Switzerland shows in a study. To compare the figures, Romania has now three times fewer schools than before 1989, and the number of hospital beds is now at its half. Between 2000 and 2009, an average of one hospital per year was lost, and in the twenty years, an average of 1,056 schools per year was lost, which makes it three schools a day.

The school- church balance weighs more in the favour of praying sites. Statistics show the Orthodox Church had 16,000 sites throughout the country, 80 percent of these had been built after the Revolution. Meanwhile, during the 2008- 2009 school year, there were only 8,221 schools and universities open. If we consider the fact that 28, 303 educational units were counted after 1989, a simple mathematical operation shows their number decreased three times each year.

Asked to explain the phenomenon, anthropologist Vintila Mihailescu says religion was strongly oppressed in Romania during the communist regime, so “after 1989, there was a real guilt-driven need to build more, as if to mend injustice. “ Mihailescu calls it “a psychological culpability.”

Sociologist Mircea Kivu however, considers “it isn’t normal that religious monuments in this number should be financed by the state. “These should be done with the parishioners’ money, while the state should definitely subsidize schools and hospitals.”

The study also shows that Church is the most trustworthy institution in Romanians’ view, and this is mainly the reason leading politicians to show up at religious celebrations, as a sign of election worth. In Romania “there is an ambiguous state- church relationship, “ Kivu comments, “and though we are speaking about a laic state, religious symbols are everywhere, even in the Parliament.”

Trying to voice a reasonable argument into the study, deputy chief of the Public Policy Institute, Adrian Moraru shows that “pressure is high in building up new churches, especially from theology graduates, who are more and more every year and looking for parishes, a phenomenon that agrees with the Orthodox Church, although not considered deliberate policy.”

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