Cardinal Vlk tells Czech officials not to mentor the Catholic Church
The law on church restitutions approved by the Czech Parliament in 2012 should enable churches active in the Czech Republic to gain full independence from the state by 2030. However, changing an order that’s been in place for decades is not proving easy. In an Easter interview for Czech Radio Cardinal Miloslav Vlk slammed Czech officials for mentoring the Catholic Church and reminded them that the communist days are over.
“The Church is perfectly aware of its duty and we will naturally fulfill our mission in caring for the ill and elderly, but not because politicians tell us to do so. This is a free and democratic country and it would be good if our top officials respected the constitutional order. The Church will do its duty, but it is no longer for them to order us around.”
The Catholic Church was further irritated by the fact that President Miloš Zeman who is to visit the Vatican on April 24th and will get an audience with the Pope, said in advance that he planned to talk to the Holy Father about how the Czech Catholic Church should use the money it receives in restitutions. Cardinal Vlk said he doubted that the Pope would interfere with the Czech Catholic Church’s decisions on the matter.
“The Pope has no intention of interfering in the internal affairs of dioceses. We recently had a debate on the subsidiarity principle in the Vatican and it was agreed that decisions that can be made at a lower level will be made there. So I am sure that the Pope will not bring up the matter of how we are to spend our money and if the Czech president were to bring it up it would be a sign of ignorance regarding the present working order in the Catholic Church.”
“The Social Democrats turned the church restitution issue into an election slogan that would draw voters. They promised to stop the restitution law and then they promised to revise it. But, because it is not in their power to do any of that, they are at least telling us how to use the money as a signal to voters that they have not given up on the matter.”