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Cardinal Vlk: Catholics seek reconciliation with Hus

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Prague, June 14 (CTK) – The Monday reconciliation mass in Rome can be considered the completion of the efforts for which late Pope John Paul II called, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, former Prague archbishop (1991-2010), said Sunday.

The mass will be held on the forthcoming 600th anniversary of the death of John Huss, burnt at the stake over his efforts to reform the church in the early 15th century.

The Czech delegation, that will include representatives of the Czech Hussite and Evangelical churches, will be received by Pope Francis, Vlk said.

Pope Francis said on Friday by Huss’ immolation, the Roman Catholic church had been hurt, too.

Vlk took part in the preparations of the meeting. He said he had written a letter to Rome and was about to introduce the delegation to the Pope.

At the time Pope John Paul II prompted the efforts at Catholics’ reconciliation with Huss and his legacy, Vlk headed Czech bishops.

“Both events that expect us in the Vatican confirm the shared tendency to understand Huss’ work as a work that is to serve our testimony of the salvation in Christ,” Joel Ruml, head of the Czech Brethren Church, said.

Ruml said further divine services were also to “alleviate the burden of the past.”

Vlk stressed that during his first visit to Czechoslovakia after the fall of the Communist regime in 1990, Pope John Paul II had called on Czech Catholic bishops to deal with the personality of John Huss who “should no longer divide us, but become a figure that unites us.”

“When Pope John Paul II came for another visit in 1995, he returned again positively to Huss and expressed his apology for Huss’s immolation,” Vlk said.

Huss criticised the contemporary arbitrary church practices and called for a return to the poor church, for which he was anathematised.

He, however, refused to revoke his teaching and he was burnt at the stake by a decision of the Catholic Church Council in Constance, south Germany, on July 6, 1415.

Late Pope John Paul II expressed regret at Huss’s death, but this does not amount to his complete rehabilitation since the Catholics still consider some of Huss’s ideas erroneous.

The anniversary of Huss’ death on July 6 is a national holiday in the Czech Republic.

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