10 April 2011

Czechoslovakia's Secret Church

Czechoslovakia's Secret Church, by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt (The Tablet)

It was at a moving ceremony at Vienna’s UN-City Church on Saturday last week, 21 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, that the largest and best-known underground circle in the former Czechoslovakia – called “Koinótés” and founded by the late Bishop Felix Maria Davidek – received the Herbert-Haag-Foundation Award for Freedom in the Church, which is bestowed annually on persons and institutions “for courageous actions within Christianity”.

Although a disputed and controversial figure, Felix Maria Davidek’s charisma and his extraordinary gifts have since been recognised by many Catholic churchmen, including bishops and cardinals. Davidek recognised the signs of the times and his response was prophetic.

Desperate situations, in this case severe persecution by one of the most relentless atheist regimes, merit desperate remedies and Davidek ordained married men and women to the Catholic priesthood. The survival strategies he undertook illuminate the Church’s potential for reform, which never ends with the death of the reformers.
Link: Czechoslovakia's Secret Church