Czech Catholics call for top archbishop to stand down
A group of Czech Catholics have written a letter urging Pope Francis not to prolong Cardinal Dominik Duka’s mandate as the Archbishop of Prague. Among the reasons stated in the letter are the alleged nationalist tendencies of the Church in the Czech Republic.
But a group of Czech Catholic laymen oppose Cardinal Duka remaining in his post, urging the Pope to choose a new archbishop of Prague. Jan Bierhanzl, one of the signatories, says they don’t like the way the archbishopric has been managed for several years now.
One of their concerns is Duka’s friendship with former president Václav Klaus, who was invited to speak at his mass during the Feast of St Wenceslas in 2011. Klaus urged the church to join his fight against the social state.
Bierhanzl, who teaches philosophy at Charles University, elaborated:
“And recently, we don’t like his support for Tomio Okamura [leader of Freedom and Democracy Party] and their joint stand on security policy, as well as his support of president Miloš Zeman, a certain bonding with powerful people who tend to incline to the extreme right.”
The letter to Pope Francis has been signed by 100 Catholic laymen and has already been delivered to the Vatican. It has been supported by several priests, who wish to stay anonymous. So who would they like to see in Dominik Duka’s place? Jan Bierhanzl again:
“When we look at Pope Francis and Dominik Duka, we can see some striking differences, including their view on immigrants, social issues or criticism of capitalism.
The full wording of the letter is set to be published at a meeting in front of the Archbishop’s Palace on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent and is a symbol of change. According to Bierhanzl, the meeting should remind church representatives that the church is constituted mainly by ordinary people, including representatives of racial and sexual minorities.
The spokesman of the Prague Archbishopric, Stanislav Zeman, said Cardinal Duka will not make any comment since he hasn’t seen the full version of the letter.