Friday, 25 April 2014

Franciscan monks beatified in Prague

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15 October 2012

Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) - Fourteen Franciscan friars who were tortured to death in the 17th century were beatified at a ceremony with a mass celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Amato, a representative of the Vatican, in St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle Saturday.

This has been the first beatification in the Prague archdiocese, the Catholic Church has announced.

Cardinal Dominik Duka, Prague Archbishop and the primate of the Czech Catholic Church, said on this occasion the past tragic event arose from the moral crisis in the whole Europe, and consequently it is a warning for the present.

"The profanation of the sacred place and the killing of 14 persons dedicated (to God) tragically contrasts with their good life. The beatified martyrs did not feel hatred but they were preying, working and doing the good," Cardinal Amato said in the cathedral.

A beatification painting depicting the Franciscan friars by Czech artist Tomas Cisarovsky was unveiled during the ceremony.

The decree on the beatification was signed by Pope Benedict XVI. Beatification is a precondition for a later canonisation.

Unlike the canonised saints, who are worshiped in the whole Catholic community, the cult of beatification is usually limited to a diocese, a country or a religious order.

The group of 14 Franciscan friars from various European countries, including the French, Dutch, Germans and Italians, were sent to Prague, which was predominantly Protestant then, at the beginning of the 17th century to preach for the Catholic minority.

After the Passau army's invasion of Prague in 1611 the town's inhabitants suspected the friars of collaboration and they killed them all in the Our Lady of the Snow monastery on February 15, 1611.

The friars' bodies were buried in the monastery's cloister after four days and later in the chapel.

The first steps to their beatification were taken in the 17th century and the process was officially launched in the 1930s. However, it was interrupted by the communist regime (1948-89) for 40 years and reopened only after its collapse in 1989.

Duka pointed out that Saturday's ceremony relates not only to Prague and the Czech Republic but to the whole Europe not only because the murdered Franciscans were members of many nations.

"But much more because their earthly tragedy and posthumous glory arose from the moral crisis of the whole Europe then. Exactly in thos context of the then uncertainties, malignment, fears and calls for atonement, radicalism and suppression of fundamental human responsibility towards the others, the event from the distant past becomes a memento for Saturday," Duka said.

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