Mailbox

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Today in Mailbox: Disputes over the ownership of Prague's St Vitus Cathedral; security measures at Prague Ruzyne Airport; contact for Czech ski jumper Jan Mazoch; Radio Prague reception in California. Listeners quoted: Karel Knechtel, Ted Schuerzinger, Poornima Bharathy, Tomas Kirvaitis, Arturo Leal.

St Vitus Cathedral, photo: CTK
Welcome to Mailbox, the programme which gives you the floor to tell us your views and comments. In the past week or so, Radio Prague reported a few times on the ruling by the Supreme Court which overturned previous court decisions returning the Gothic St Vitus Cathedral in Prague to the Roman Catholic Church. Legal disputes between the Czech state and the church over the ownership of the cathedral have been going on for some 13 years and now the matter has been returned back to a district court. Karel Knechtel listens to us in Canada and this is his view on the matter:

"It would send a bad signal if the state should attempt to usurp the cathedral, even if it was to be through a so-called 'joint' ownership. The cathedral is a holy place. Its prime purpose is to honour God, to be a temple for prayer and it is the prime symbol of Christianity in Bohemia. A cathedral does not belong in secular hands, whether communist or not."

That's one way to look at it; others argue that the cathedral is also an important symbol of Czech statehood, first built by the king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and consequently the venue for royal coronations. What do you think? Should the state or the Catholic Church be in charge of the maintenance of Prague's St Vitus Cathedral? Let us know your views at english@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague.

Ted Schuerzinger from the United States responds to another story which made headlines in the Czech Republic in recent days.

"As I was typing my reception report to email to you, I noticed the story about the self-proclaimed psychic who predicted an attack at the Prague airport. Funny, but I don't think her prediction actually came true. I presume she never gave an explanation for why she was wrong, of course.:-)"

If she did that piece of information was not released in the media, it seems. The security measures at the airport were criticised by the opposition, but Interior Minister Ivan Langer said they were quite regular. He said only 22 police officers were guarding the airport and added that the police need to respond to every such call to try and eliminate any potential danger and only afterwards can they start analysing the source of the information.

From time to time we get letters commenting on Czech sporting success or concerning individual athletes. Poornima Bharathy from the United States has a question about the Czech ski jumper Jan Mazoch who crashed in January during a jump in Poland and sustained serious injuries to his head. By the way, Jan is now is undergoing rehab and he is making a very good recovery.

"My name is Poornima and I am originally from India. I am a big fan of Jan Mazoch and I was wondering if I can send him a card to wish him well and pray he gets better soon. Do you have his address, or any address that forwards fan mails to him? I appreciate if you can help a fan like me. I just want to send him a card."

Thank you for writing in to Radio Prague. Jan Mazoch's official website is www.janmazoch.cz. It has an English version, too, and you can leave a message for Jan there in his guestbook.

Tomas Kirvaitis is writing from the West Coast of the United States:

"Hello from Los Angeles California USA! We can't hear you over here! Please send some transmissions our way! We want to hear what you have to say! Thank you."

I am sorry to hear that - I have forwarded your e-mail to our shortwave experts and they will see what can be done about it. In the meantime you can fall back on our internet broadcasts and text versions of all our programmes that you can find on our website www.radio.cz.

And finally Arturo Leal from Mexico visited Prague recently and wanted to share his impressions.

"My daughter, wife and myself visited Prague in November 2006. We fell in love with Prague. We stayed only one day and a half, but this short time was enough to admire and love your culture, people, and architecture. What was the thing we liked the most? We could not say. Maybe the Municipal House, or perhaps the Castle of Prague or the Powder Tower, or the Astronomical Clock, or maybe the magnificent churches (St Vitus, for example), the fantastic puppets or the impressive handicrafts exhibited on Charles Bridge, or possibly the nice and cosy apartment where we stayed for only one night or the nice restaurant in front of it. Thank you, Czech Republic, thank you magnificent Prague. We expect to be back again some day."


Thank you for all those letters and comments and I'd like to remind you that you still have three more days to send us your answers to Radio Prague's monthly quiz question.

This month our mystery person is a woman. She was born in the former Czechoslovakia, she started off as a skier and was a member of the Czechoslovak national skiing team. Later she worked as a fashion model in the US and Canada but today she is perhaps best-known thanks to her marriage to an American entrepreneur and media tycoon whom she divorced in 1992.

Please tell us the name of this Czech-born American celebrity by February 28 to English@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099, Prague, Czech Republic. Four of you who answer correctly will get small gifts from Radio Prague.