Prague archbishop reproaches in pastoral letter, that the Church does not sufficiently recall the anniversary of the Republic
Prague (kath.net/KAP) Cardinal Dominik Duka commented on the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the Czechoslovak Republic with a pastoral letter. The proclamation of the republic on October 28, 1918 had taken place at the foot of the St. Wenceslas Memorial in Prague's Wenceslas Square, and the Vatican was one of the first states to recognize the new state, Duka recalled.
The Pastoral Letter, dated 28 October, and published only on Duka's personal homepage, is signed by him only in his capacity as Archbishop of Prague and Primate of Bohemia, but not as President of the Czech Bishops' Conference, which only took place on the 23rd and held its 115th Assembly on 24 October.
First of all, Duka is reproachful that the Church does not sufficiently commemorate the anniversary of the republic. For, “together with a number of institutions and commissions, they were not only informed about the intended actions, but also shared information among themselves.” For the Catholic Church, "it was especially important to point out the roots of Czech statehood in connection with the worship of St. Wenceslas to the full extent of our early history and their continued existence until the founding of Czechoslovakia or Czech Republic.” This requirement was met in particular with the celebrations for Wenceslas Day (28 September).
The Primate Cardinal recalled the presence not only of Church organizations, but also of the military and the Sokol ‘Movement at the solemn Mass in Stara Boleslav on the 28th of September. It was the members of this Christian-oriented movement who fought for the rebuilding of the sovereign republic during the First World War and during the Second World War. Thus, the continuity of the cult of Wenceslas was made visible during the celebrations.
Duka also mentioned the problem of founding the state 100 years ago. The festive atmosphere had been clouded by the not yet consolidated demarcation. But the federalization proclaimed by Kaiser Karl at the last moment "could not seal the fates of our peoples, but Karl's earnest efforts to conclude peace were undeniable.” He wanted to emphasize, “Charles’ renunciation of the throne of Bohemia, who had sworn allegiance to the dynasty, and were thus free to decide without inhibition,” said the cardinal.
The Primate cited in detail from the last pastoral letter of his predecessor Archbishop Paul Huyn (1868-1946) and from the first of his Vicar General Moric Picha (1869-1956) from the days of separation of 1918. Two days before the proclamation of the republic, on the 26th of October, the Archbishop of Prague described the war as a "just defensive war", which Catholics in particular must "do their utmost to be victorious.” It was the "last cause of hatred of the enemies" that "we were lucky enough to have a Catholic Emperor and a Catholic Empress." Huyn had then not returned from a visitation to Prague and officially resigned on September 19, 1919.
The Ecclesiastical Loyalty Promise of December 1918
On December 8, 1918, Vicar General Picha struck a new tone, Duka said. One sees "in the destinies of nations, and especially of our people, the hand of Divine Providence"; they wanted and will "wholeheartedly love our country in its new form, live in harmony and justice with all the citizens of our state and stand with due respect and sacrifice to the appointed government," Cardinal Duka quoted. He concluded his pastoral letter "with thanks for 100 years of honest work, bravery and courage, but also forgiveness where we failed.”
The former Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, who spoke at a festive session of the Parliament as honorary president of the party TOP 09, also recalled emperor Karl. 1918 had allowed “a very civilized overthrow" and one must be "thankful to the Emperor Karl of blessed memory, that he had forbidden the use of force.”
In a TV interview in the news service CT24 also greeted Karl Habsburg, the current head of the House of Habsburg, and the historical role of his grandfather. The Emperor "in addition to his deep faith, also believed that, however bad the situation may be, one must endeavor to make the best out of it.” On this basis, one must "also consider the various peace efforts that emanated from him.” Karl came to power in a situation when - after the death of Emperor Franz Josef - the war was essentially beyond salvation."
Trans: Tancred email@example.com