00 9/14/2009 6:35 PM




Pope's speech in Czech Republic may be based on encyclical - Archbishop



Prague - Public speeches by Pope Benedict XVI within his visit to the Czech Republic on September 26-28 will probably be based on his new encyclical, Prague Archbishop Miloslav Vlk said today during the presentation of its Czech translation.

Cardinal Vlk, along with Olomouc Archbishop Jan Graubner, today also presented a unique rosary of gold and Bohemian garnets, which the Bohemian and Moravian will donate to the Pope at the close of his visit.
The Pope's new encyclical, his third in a row, called Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth) was published on July 7. Its name connects two essential phenomena of the Christian revelation - love and truth.
The text of the encyclical deals with current social issues in the world, including the roots of the economic crisis and globalisation, Vlk added.




Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, with Papa during bishop' synod


Experts from diplomatic circles also indicated that the Pope would draw from the encyclical during his visit to the Czech Republic and that he might also touch upon the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the communist regime in Europe.

The Czech translation of the Papal Encyclical of some 100 pages was issued by the Carmelite publisher's three weeks ahead of the Pope'arrival in the Czech Republic.


Vlk said, commenting on the encyclical, that the Pope's main goal is not to moralise and criticise what is wrong, but to offer solutions.
"It is an extraordinary encyclical because of its wide scope. This is unusual for the Pope," Vlk noted.



Czech state-church relations settlement priority - Cardinal



Prague - Czech Catholic Church Cardinal Miloslav Vlk told Radio Impuls today that progress in the still non-ratified Czech-Vatican treaty could only be achieved after relations between the state and the church were settled in the Czech Republic.

Vlk pointed to a bill on the settlement of the state-church property relations that in his view had narrowed space for church freedom.
"The relevant draft amendment is still on the government's table," he said.

Regarding the question of property settlement between the state and churches that has not yet been achieved, Vlk said it was the question which burdened not only churches but also towns and villages and the whole state.

The bill on the settlement of property relations between the state and the church appeared in the Chamber of Deputies last spring but it has only been debated in the first reading.
A group of deputies around Vlastimil Tlusty (elected for the Civic Democrats, ODS) sharply criticised the government-proposed bill which was approved by the government last April.

Under it, the government wants to return about one-third of the churches' property that was nationalised after the 1948 communist coup. Instead of the remaining property, the churches are to receive 83 billion crowns during the next 60 years, or approximately 270 billion crowns with interests.

On Tlusty's initiative, a parliamentary commission was established to examine the proposal before it was to be Vsubmitted to the parliament again. The commission then did not recommend that the Chamber of Deputies passed the legislation.

The Czech Republic is one of a few European countries not to have ratified an inter-governmental treaty with the Vatican.
The document that defines the position of the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic churches in the Czech Republic was signed in 2002. However, it has so far been only ratified by the Vatican.
The ratification process in the Czech Republic has not yet been completed as the Chamber of Deputies refused to ratify the document in 2003.

The deputies pointed out that the treaty was disadvantageous for the Czech state and violated the equal position of churches.
Vlk said in June that he firmly believed that the Vatican considered the wording of the treaty definitive and that it saw no reason to change anything in it.

The Vatican believes that the Czech Republic should ratify the document in its current wording, Vlk then said.

Today he said that Pope Benedict XVI was of the view that the negotiations on the treaty had been completed and that it would be good if its ratification were completed in the Czech Republic.
However, no talks between the Czech Republic and the Vatican on the treaty have been scheduled for the period of the Pope's visit to the Czech Republic in late September.

Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer will discuss the topic at their meeting during the Pope's visit, Vlk said.

[Edited by Maklara 9/14/2009 6:51 PM]