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Christian activists protesting against Prague archbishop

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Prague, Feb 14 (CTK) – Christian activists resent Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka’s inclination towards nationalism and extreme right, they said in a letter sent to Pope Francis, asking him not to prolong Duka’s tenure, published at their rally outside the Archbishops Palace on Wednesday.

There were about ten of the activists, but the rally was observed also by some advocates of Duka.

“Duka’s inclination towards nationalism and extreme right can be seen not only in his unlimited support for Islamophobic President Milos Zeman, but also in his unequivocal rejection of solidarity with refugees at the Saint Wenceslas pilgrimage in September 2017 and his letter of congratulation to Tomio Okamura, leader of the fascistoid Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD),” the letter said.

The activists also criticise Duka for “having a proclivity for ostentatious trappings of power.”

Instead, he should return the original meaning to the church, the letter said.

For their rally, the activists have chosen the Ash Wednesday when a fast starts and Christians remind themselves of the biblical words “For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

The protest was staged by a group of Christian laymen. The letter has been signed by over 100 people.

It was condemned by Czech MEP Tomas Zdechovsky (Christian Democrats, (KDU-CSL).

“The cardinal is my cardinal and a man I tremendously esteem over his attitude at the time of the Communist regime and his work for the church at present,” Zdechovsky has tweeted.

He has launched a petition in support of Duka, signed by over 100 by Wednesday.

“The cardinal is not a proponent of politically extreme views, trying to act as a mediator publicly,” the letter in support of Duka says.

It has been signed by deputy Zuzana Majerova (Civic Democratic Party, ODS), rector of the South Bohemia University Tomas Machula and several clergymen.

Duka’s proponents posted some banners on behalf of him outside the Archbishops Palace. One of them said “We Are Standing Behind our Archbishop.”

The campaign against Duka follows up the worst denunciation tradition of Czech history, the Vaclav Klaus Institute (VIK), the think tank of former president Vaclav Klaus (2003-2013), said in reaction to the former petition.

Duka should be appreciated for having provided the church with a positive and open face towards the state and the public, stopped a duel over the Saint Vitus Cathedral [with the state] and contributed to the enactment of the return of property to the church, the VIK said.

“He is the Czech Catholic church primate. This is why he feels responsibility for his nation, rightly fearing the creation of Muslim minorities by a mass migration,” it added.

Duka will turn 75 in April, the age at which all Catholic bishops are obliged to submit their resignation. The Pope may decide to extend their mandate,.

In their letter, the activists demand “a personnel exchange and an accelerated naming of a new Prague archbishop.”

Duka’s predecessor in the post, Miloslav Vlk, handed in his resignation after turning 75, but the Pope Benedict XVI prolonged his mandate by two years in 2007.

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