Prague, Feb 18 (CTK) – The health condition of Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, 84, who suffers from lung cancer, steeply deteriorated on Friday, but doctors made his condition stable in the night, so his life is not directly threatened, priest Miroslav Cuth said Saturday.
Vlk has been in a Prague hospital, where he underwent chemotherapy, since Monday, said Cuth, who has been looking after Vlk.
Cuth told CTK that the chemotherapy had to be interrupted due to the weakening of Vlk’s organism and that the cardinal was transferred from the oncological to the metabolic ward because of internal bleeding.
He was in a stable condition this morning, Cuth said, referring to the doctors’ information.
Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka, Vlk’s successor in this position and as the primate of the Czech Catholic Church, visited him in hospital on Friday, Cuth added.
Vlk’s health troubles appeared last spring and he had to be hospitalised before Christmas. Doctors diagnosed him with cancer in early January. In the autumn, Vlk stayed in a spa with joint pains, but his trouble further worsened afterwards. His left shoulder swelled and he suffered from dizziness.
On Christmas Eve, he was admitted to a coronary unit with heart rhythm disorder. A CT scan and bronchoscopy confirmed lung tumor with bone metastases.
At the end of January, Pope Francis phoned Vlk and assured him that he would pray for his health.
Vlk was born on May 17, 1932. In 1968, he was ordained priest, but ten years later, the communist regime banned him from working as a priest. He started celebrating masses secretly for small groups of believers.
A historian, archivist and theologian by training, he was forced to earn his living as a window cleaner for political reasons in the 1980s.
In the early 1990s, he was appointed bishop of Ceske Budejovice, south Bohemia.
After the resignation of Frantisek Tomasek, he became the Czech Catholic Church’s primate in 1991. He was appointed cardinal in October 1994.
On June 1, 1991, Vlk became archbishop of Prague. Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation in February 2010 when he also appointed Duka his successor.