Czechs mourn Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, a symbol of courage and unwavering faith
Arrangements are being made for the funeral of Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the former head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, who died on Saturday. The funeral mass at St Vitus Cathedral will be served by Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka and the cardinal’s remains will be interred in the Archbishop’s Chapel at St. Vitus.
Tributes to the cardinal flowed in from at home and abroad as news of his death spread. Pope Francis sent condolences to the Czech Archbishopric praising the cardinal as a “generous pastor”. “I recall with admiration his tenacious fidelity to Christ, despite the deprivations and the persecutions against the Church,” the pope said in the message. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka described the cardinal as a respected man who was not afraid to follow his conscience and Culture Minister Daniel Herman said Miloslav Vlk was among the greatest figures he had had the honour to know.
The Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka, who succeeded Miloslav Vlk as head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church in 2010, said his friendship with the cardinal had been a lifelong inspiration.
“I personally have a great deal to thank him for, be it during our studies of theology or later when we were forced to work underground and met in the circle of priests around Cardinal Tomášek. And I cannot omit mentioning the enormous amount of good work he did for the Prague Archdiocese and the Prague Archbishopric.”
Those who were close to him say he never lost his humility on the way up or his firm faith and dedication to the Church. His funeral scheduled for Saturday at St. Vitus Cathedral is expected to bring together not just cardinals and bishops from around the world, but parishoners from small Czech villages who remember the cardinal with love.