In a wide-ranging interview at the start of Holy Week, leading up to Easter, the Roman Catholic priest Tomáš Petráček – a leading church and social historian – talks about the pagan, Slavic, communist and Hapsburg influences on the position of the church in Czech society over the centuries, and why, in his mind, painting eggs and pre-Christian fertility rites have a welcome place at Easter alongside the liturgy.
The Czech priest and theologian Tomáš Halík met with Pope Francis at the
Vatican on Wednesday and presented him with a letter praising the Pope for
his efforts to reform the Catholic Church and urging the establishment of a
clear future vision.
The letter has been supported by nearly 75,000 signatories including 2,500 theology professors and public figures from across the world. Mr. Halík told the news server aktualne.cz that opinions on the current role of the Catholic Church were gathered from all signatories and are now being published in multiple languages, including Czech. He also said that an intercontinental network of theologians ready to devise and implement reform impulses has been established.
The 71-year-old Templeton Prize winner has been actively involved in theological doctrine within the Catholic Church since the 1990s.
Fifty years ago on January 16, a young Czech university student named Jan Palach doused himself in petrol and set himself alight at the top of Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Three days after staging this desperate attempt to rouse a demoralised Czechoslovakia in the face of Soviet occupation, he died in a burns clinic. Though his immediate political goals failed, Jan Palach inspired and steeled the resolve of countless others to fight for freedom during the two decades of ‘Normalisation’ that followed the crushing of the Prague Spring.
The Czech Republic is for the first time celebrating Red Wednesday, a
global event whose goal is to remember those who cannot practise their
faith freely throughout the world.
In a show of solidarity, a number of churches, synagogues and other religious sites throughout the country will be illuminated in red during the evening. In Prague, these include the St. Nicholas Church on Old Town Square and the Old-New Synagogue in Josefov, the historic Jewish quarter.
A conference on the role of religion in society is also underway in Prague, attended by representatives of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the pontifical foundation that launched the Red Wednesday initiative in support of persecuted Christians.
The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, has
filed a lawsuit over a pair of theatre plays staged in Brno in May, the
newspaper Lidové noviny reported on Thursday. The joint production of the
plays Our Violence, Your Violence and The Curse included a scene in which
Jesus rapes a Muslim woman as well as a depiction of Pope John Paul II in a
state of tumescence.
Protests also took place at the theatre itself during the plays, which were directed by Oliver Frljic from Croatia.
Cardinal Duka says that the theatre show represented an attack on his rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. He referred specifically to the inalienability of rights, freedom of religion and the right to dignity and honour. The prelate filed the lawsuit as a private individual.
A group of right-wing protestors who over the weekend disrupted a theatre performance of the controversial play by Croatian director Oliver Frljić have filed a criminal complaint against one of the lead actors as well as the director of the National Theatre in Brno for propagating religious intolerance and defamation of a state symbol. Two other complaints are also pending.
Although the Czech Republic is one of the most secular countries in Europe, Easter is observed in most homes around the country. True, most families observe the old Easter traditions that have largely pagan roots, but many people appreciate the message of Easter as one of reflection and forgiveness. And even though Czechs are among the least enthusiastic churchgoers in Europe, Easter mass is always a special occasion. Vít Pohanka visited the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren to find out how Protestants celebrate Easter in the Czech Republic.
I Want You to Be, a book by Catholic priest and a renowned Czech theologian Tomáš Halík, has won a golden medal of the Foreward INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the philosophy category. The awards aim to recognise independent notable works and winning entries are chosen by readers, librarians and book sellers. I Want You to Be was published in English by the University of Notre Dame Press and is described as a meditation on love towards god, one’s self, friends and enemies.
I Want You to Be, a book by Czech priest and theologian Tomáš Halík, has received a nomination at the upcoming Foreward INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the philosophy category. The awards aim to recognise independent notable works and winning entries are chosen by readers, librarians and book sellers. I Want You to Be was published in English by the University of Notre Dame Press and is described as as meditation on love towards god, one’s self, friends and enemies.