Czech Republic: accord with the Holy See not ratified ” “

“A poor show in the international field”: so saying, the spokesman of the Czech Episcopal Conference, Daniel Herman, stigmatised the decision of the Czech Parliament on 21 May not to ratify the accord between the Czech Republic and the Holy See signed in July 2002 and awaiting ratification. “It’s a decision that reveals the rift between the social-democratic government that had drafted the document and the lack of political culture that is causing the isolation of the country in the context of the countries of the former Eastern bloc that have all succeeded in solving the question of Church-State relations”, comments the spokesman. “According to the information coming out of Parliament – he adds – it seems clear that a large dose of ignorance and the prejudices that still survive from the time of the Communist regime led to this decision, especially as regards canon law and the international character of the Catholic Church”. “Hitherto – he concludes –we have lived without an agreement and we can also do without it in the future. The response of the Holy See will also be important”. The accord established among other things “the reciprocal recognition of international juridical personality, respect for religious freedom, the right of the Church to freely exercise her apostolic mission, the teaching of Catholic religion in schools and in prescholastic and scholastic institutes, the commitment to collaborate in the safeguard and cultural maintenance of the Czech Republic and the solution of questions concerning the properties of the Catholic Church”.

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