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Mass in commemoration of Cardinal Tomášek held in Prague

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Prague, Aug 4 (CTK) – A mass in commemoration of Czech Cardinal Frantisek Tomasek, who became a symbol of the struggle for freedom still during his life, was held on his 25th death anniversary in Prague’s St Vitus Cathedral today, celebrated by Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka.

Duka mentioned Tomasek’s contribution to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia and the obstacles and dangers he faced during the period of normalisation, or the hardline communist regime in the 1970s.

Tomasek’s work should never be forgotten, Duka said.

“Nevertheless, a great biography of this personality has not been written yet,” he said.

Duka mentioned Cardinal Josef Beran, Tomasek’s predecessor in the post of Prague Archbishop in 1946-69, who urged Czech priests more than 60 years ago not to pledge loyalty to the Communist party.

Duka also spoke of the late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who asked his ministers going to communist Czechoslovakia to pay their first visit to Cardinal Tomasek, not to then president Gustav Husak.

Duka warned against what he called individual as well as national selfishness.

At the close of the divine service, he prayed for justice for Ukraine and the regions controlled by Islamic State.

He asked politicians not to denigrate themselves by attacking the church ahead of the October 20-21 general election.

Born in north Moravia in 1899, Frantisek Tomasek studied theology at the seminar in Olomouc. He was ordained a priest in 1922.

During the communist period, he was secretly ordained a bishop and joined the underground church. In 1951, he was arrested and sent to a labour camp, where he remained interned for three years.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI appointed Tomasek the apostolic administrator of the Prague diocese, a post he held until 1991. In 1977, the pope officially named him Prague archbishop and Czech Catholic primate.

After retiring in March 1991, Tomasek lived in the Archbishop’s Palace in Prague until August 4, 1992, when he died of a heart failure combined with lung inflammation at the age of 93.

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