Bishops of the Czech Republic met in Velehrad
Velehrad: The meeting was opened with a meditation by Apostolic Exarch of the Greek-Catholic Church, Bishop Ladislav Hučko, who spoke about courage within a new evangelization. Cardinal Dominik Duka, president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference, then informed bishops about the situation of the Church in the today’s society, especially about the Act on the Church-State relations settlement that undergoes the approval procedure in the Parliament in these days.
Members of the bishops’ conference then dwelt on economic issues. Bishop František Radkovský of Plzeň informed them about management of organizations established by the conference (“Katolický týdeník” weekly magazine, Caritas Czech Republic, Czech Catholic Biblical Work, Pontifical Missionary Works). In the afternoon of the first day, bishops spoke about the property settlement between the State and Churches. Invited for this part were also vicars general and economists of all dioceses. They discussed a new economical model of the Church and the ecclesiastical and interdiocesan solidarity so that, the Act having been adopted, the Church could finance its existence without state funding.
On the second day of the plenary, bishops approved principles of new directives for the Caritas Czech Republic and adaptations in the Rules of Procedure of Caritas Directors. Bishop Jan Baxant of Litoměřice, president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference’s Council for Health Pastoral Care, submitted a proposal of the statutes and the rules of procedure for the new Catholic Association of Hospital Chaplains; these documents were approved by the bishops. They also approved national intentions of the Apostolate of Prayer for 2013 and a suggestion to create a conference’s Council for Support of Theology and prizes for theological monograph. Members of the Czech Bishops’ Conference also discussed organizational issues related to the beatification of 14 Prague Franciscan martyrs to be held on 13th October 2012 in Prague.
In the afternoon, bishops dwelt on reports from commissions and councils of the Czech Bishops’ Conference and discussed the preparations of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Ss. Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia to be celebrated in 2013. They also sought possible ways to address the situations related to the “conscience exception” in the context of the situation of Catholic pharmacists who – in accordance with Catholic teaching – reject to sell postcoital contraceptives.