The Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Southeast Europe, meeting in Bucharest on April 17-21 within the framework of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), condemned the “administrative abuses” of Bucharest Mayor Sorin Oprescu. The criticism came against the backdrop in which the City Hall refuses to take down the Cathedral Plaza building, as ruled by court, according to the Bucharest Roman-Catholic Archbishopric. The agenda of the CCEE conference included the St. Joseph Cathedral, in the context of 60 years since it was declared an architectural monument. The Catholic Bishops underscored in a public statement that “the current Bucharest Mayor’s attachment to the cause of a private company, such as the company that owns the building, is not condemnable in itself, however it appears as condemnable administrative abuse the moment it seeks to annul a court decision.”
“We are convinced that the Roman-Catholic St. Joseph Cathedral belongs not only to the Roman-Catholic denomination but to the whole community, being part of the religious tradition, history, culture and value of the united people of Europe, so that the necessary protection has to be restored to it in the shortest of times and it should be improved by eliminating the gigantic building,” stated the Catholic Church representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, as well as CCEE Secretary General Duarte da Cunha.
The Bucharest Roman-Catholic Archbishopric (ARCB) announced at the end of March that it filed at the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) a criminal complaint against Sorin Oprescu, accusing him of forming an organized crime group in what concerns the tearing down of the Cathedral Plaza building. Likewise, the ARCB also filed a complaint against businessmen Dragos Bilteanu (currently under arrest) and Ioannis Papalekas, as well as against several Bucharest City Hall employees.
In reply, Bucharest Mayor Oprescu stated that the procedures surrounding Cathedral Plaza are taking place in line with legal provisions and the Catholic Archbishopric’s statements and DNA complaint are unjustified and calumnious.