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Právo: Catholic Church too conservative, unattractive

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Prague, Aug 5 (CTK) – The Catholic Church in the Czech Republic is getting rich as a result of the ongoing return of its property seized by the communists, but it remains very conservative and reminds of a spiritless and indifferent business firm, unattractive to people, Jiri Pehe writes in Pravo yesterday.
The Catholic Church even seems not to try hard to attract believers who would enhance its position as a significant player in society, including in spiritual terms, Pehe writes.
True, the Church will be well-off for a long time, because vast property has been returned to it under the church restitution law since the beginning of 2013, Pehe writes.
In 1948, when the Communists came to power and started confiscating the Church property, about eight million Czechs claimed their adherence to the Church, compared with some 800,000 who claim it now. With a slight irony, the Church can be called “a rich company” now, regarding the “property per capita” indicator, Pehe says.
Unfortunately, at the same time, the Church is a company closed in itself. Its conservative leadership stands aside the main development trends and hot problems faced by both the Czech scene and the world. It also remains indifferent to Pope Francis, who openly speaks about new trends and problems in the world, Pehe writes.
In relation to the public, the Church brings no spiritual impulses nor does it come up with important topics for a discussion, he writes, mentioning priests and thinkers Tomas Halik and Marek Vacha as exceptions.
While the Pope criticises social inequality and poverty, and shows understanding for homosexuals, Czech Catholic dignitaries almost do not comment on such issues at all, Pehe writes.
As far as social exclusion and occasional racism towards Romanies is concerned, the Church keeps silent, he continues.
For example, when a poorly formulated law threatened to force thousands of low-income people from dormitories run by private owners, the Church not only did not offer any help but it even did not comment on the affair at all, Pehe writes.
Maybe its reaction was logical and corresponded to a previous statement of the Czech Catholic Primate, Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka, who reacted to social protests by warning against the “rule of the mob,” Pehe writes.
Another example of the Church’s conservativeness and indifference is its approach to the refugee crisis, he says.
Many months after the outbreak of the crisis, the Czech Roman Catholic Church, which is the far richest Czech Christian church, recently finally offered to accommodate some refugees – Christians if possible – in some of its facilities. Only after critics said the criterion for providing the help should be the extent of need, not the religious faith, the Church dignitaries started correcting their statements, Pehe writes.
The Church’s approach to homosexuals in the otherwise relatively liberal country is also an example of extreme conservativeness, he continues.
Duka has banned the two debates on homosexuality that were to be held on the soil of Halik’s parish during the upcoming Prague Pride festival of gays and lesbians. The ban may please the slowly disappearing generation of conservative Catholics, mainly from Moravia, but it will not make the Church attractive for young people, whose views are much more tolerant, Pehe writes.
To sum up, the Catholic Church might become one of the richest companies in the Czech Republic after the restitution is completed, but more and more, it is a company without any spirit, attractiveness or genuine social feeling. This is a sad fact about the institution whose founder promoted poverty and mercy, Pehe concludes.

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