Wednesday, 22 May 2019

LN: Czech Republic has 18 candidates for Catholic saints

16 January 2017

Prague, Jan 15 (CTK) - The Czech Republic has a record number of 18 candidates for canonisation or beatification proposed to the Vatican, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes in its Saturday issue.

The long list includes martyrs killed by the Nazis or the communist regime, nuns and two cardinals, it adds.

The highest number of four candidates was proposed by the Olomouc Archdiocese, north Moravia, LN writes.

It is now up to the Pope to choose which of the nominees will be beatified and canonised.

However, it is hard to estimate when the Vatican could make decision, Olomouc Archbishopric spokesman Jiri Gracka told LN.

The position of particular candidates is not equal, some of them have much higher chances of being canonised than the other, church historian Jaroslav Sebek said.

"The process is less complicated in the case of martyrs since it is not necessary to prove miracles (connected with them)," Sebek said.

He considers Catholic priest Josef Toufar (1902-1950) from Cihost village, east Bohemia, who was killed by the communist secret police (StB), and Prague Archbishop Cardinal Josef Beran (1888-1969), who resisted Nazism and the communist regime, "hot favourites."

Toufar's remains were exhumed from the mass grave of political prisoners in 2014. Last July, they were brought to the Cihost parish and placed in the local church. The exhumation was necessary for his beatification.

On the other hand, Cardinal Stepan Trochta (1905-1974), one of the founders of the Czech Salesian institutes, has actually no chance to be canonised at all, Sebek said.

"He was discredited by StB, and on top of that, he liked women," he added.

Czech Catholics consider the current number of candidates for canonisation unprecedentedly high.

In the past 25 years, the Vatican assessed only three proposals from the Czech Republic, LN writes.

In 1996, Zdislava from Lemberk (c. 1220-1252), a pious and generous noblewoman who founded a convent, and Roman Catholic priest Jan Sarkander (1576-1620), tortured to death, were canonised. Seven years ago, 14 Franciscans murdered in Prague in the early 17th century were beatified.

A significant event of Czech history was the canonisation of St Agnes of Bohemia (1211-1282) by Pope John Paul II in November 1989, few days before the Velvet Revolution that prompted the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, LN writes.

St Agnes was a princess of the House of Premyslids who opted for a life of charity and piety. She established the order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, the only religious order originating from Bohemia.

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