The regional court in Brno has rejected a complaint by the head of the
Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka regarding two theatre
plays staged in Brno in May of last year.
The plays Our Violence, Your Violence and The Curse, directed by Oliver Frljic from Croatia, included a scene in which Jesus rapes a Muslim woman, sparking protests from some of the locals who forced their way on stage and tried to stop the performance.
Cardinal Duka filed a lawsuit against the theatre on the grounds that the plays were an attack on his rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights such as the right to freedom of religion and the right to dignity and honour.
The judge said the scenes were allegorical and could not be seen as violating individuals' rights.
People in Brno on Sunday marked the 80th anniversary of the burning down of
the Moravian capital’s Great Synagogue shortly before Adolf Hitler
arrived in the city. Around 100 people laid flowers and lit candles at the
spot where the synagogue had stood on the corner of the streets Spálená
The building was completed in 1855 and had a capacity for over 1,000 worshippers. It was burned down on the night of March 17, 1939 by Brno Nazis, evidently as a “gift” to Hitler, the Czech News Agency wrote.
MPs are set to vote again this week in favour of a proposal to tax
financial compensation awarded to churches in lieu of property that could
not be returned in restitution.
The Senate had rejected the Communist-drafted proposal, arguing it was unconstitutional and unjust to tax money paid in compensation for properties confiscated by the former regime.
The Communists have conditioned their tolerance of the minority government comprised of the ANO and Social Democrat parties on the proposal passing.
They estimate the Czech state stands to recover about 380 million crowns annually from the roughly 2 billion crowns it now transfers to 16 churches and a Jewish federation under bilateral agreements.
The Czech state will remain owner of a Baroque flower garden in
Kroměříž, according to a ruling by the Moravia town’s district court,
which rejected a claim by the Archdiocese of Olomouc.
The Flower Garden of Kroměříž is exceptional in a broader European context as it represents a transition between late renaissance Italian gardens and classical Baroque gardens of the French style.
The Archdiocese argued that the garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site, forms a coherent whole with the adjacent chateau, both of which the Catholic Church recovered in 2015 in restitution. The properties had been confiscated by the communist regime.
Czech Cardinal Dominik Duka has issued a criminal complaint against
perpetrators of sex abuse within the Czech Catholic Church whose acts were
documented in an investigative report on Czech Television’s programme
According to a spokesman, Cardinal Duka also wants to appeal to members of Parliament to draft an amendment to the criminal code that would make reporting rape and sexual abuse of minors compulsory.
Last week he and 100 other senior Catholic bishops attended a special summit in Rome focused on sexual abuse within the clergy. According to Cardinal Duka, the Czech Catholic Church currently registers roughly one case of alleged abuse every three years. However, most perpetrators receive a suspended sentence due to a lack of evidence.
A Communist Party bill aiming to tax church restitutions hit the rocks in the Senate on Wednesday where the vast majority of senators rejected it as “unconstitutional“. The bill was rejected not just by the opposition parties but by nine senators from the ruling ANO and Social Democratic Party which helped to push it through the lower house.
The Senate has voted against the Communist party proposal to tax
restitutions paid out by the state to various religious organisations
including the Catholic Church and the Czech Jewish Community. Aside from
the opposition, the senators who voted against the bill also included the
Social Democrats, a junior partner in Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s
government. The proposal will now return to the Chamber of Deputies, which
can by-pass the Senate if it votes in favour of the bill again. However,
the opposition says it will bring the issue to the Constitutional Court if
Aside from returning property, the current restitution law passed enacted in 2013 counts on paying church organisations CZK 59 billion crowns divided into annual payments over a period of 30 years. The proposed restitution bill would tax these pay-outs reducing the total payment to CZK 48 billion.
The Czech priest and theologian Tomáš Halík met with Pope Francis at the
Vatican on Wednesday and presented him with a letter praising the Pope for
his efforts to reform the Catholic Church and urging the establishment of a
clear future vision.
The letter has been supported by nearly 75,000 signatories including 2,500 theology professors and public figures from across the world. Mr. Halík told the news server aktualne.cz that opinions on the current role of the Catholic Church were gathered from all signatories and are now being published in multiple languages, including Czech. He also said that an intercontinental network of theologians ready to devise and implement reform impulses has been established.
The 71-year-old Templeton Prize winner has been actively involved in theological doctrine within the Catholic Church since the 1990s.
Pope Francis this month publicly acknowledged the scandal of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns and has vowed to do more to fight the problem. The issue came to the fore amid the Catholic Church’s overall reckoning with the sexual abuse of minors. Here in the Czech Republic, Cardinal Dominik Duka – who in the past has characterized such scandals as attacks on the church – has now agreed under pressure to meet some of the victims face to face.
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