Polish government urged to buy late Pope's house

A Polish opposition party today urged the government to buy the house where the late Pope John Paul II was born and which hosts a museum in his honour.

The present owner, Ron Balamuth, who lives in the United States, has decided to sell the two-storey house in the southern town of Wadowice, where the late pontiff was born Karol Wojtyla on May 18, 1920.

Balamuth has not said why he wants to sell. Polish media have reported that the price is about €828,000.

The Peasant’s Party said it wrote a letter to Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz asking the government to buy the house.

There was no immediate reaction from the government.

Earlier this month, Polish Roman Catholic Church authorities confirmed they were in negotiations to purchase the house. No final decision has been announced.

The Wojtylas moved into the house in 1919, with their elder son Edmund. After the death of the mother and of Edmund, the future Pope moved with his father to the city of Krakow, where he studied Polish literature at the Jagiellonian University.

Built in the mid-19th century, the house has housed a museum devoted to the life and teachings of John Paul II since 1984. Some 3,500 people have visited the museum daily since his death on April 2.

Separately, an exhibition has opened showing scenes from the Pope’s life represented by 20in tall porcelain dolls at a museum in the southern Polish town of Pilzno, the Polish news agency PAP reported.

The 14 scenes include baby Karol Wojtyla posing for a picture with his mother, him as a young priest, as newly elected Pope in 1978 and in the 1981 assassination attempt. The last scene shows the arrival of new Pope Benedict XVI.


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