.- After being confiscated by the Communist government almost 50 years ago, the Cathedral of St. Vitus in Prague has finally been returned to the Catholic Church, thanks to a ruling by the Czech Republic’s Supreme Court.
During the Communist period, the Czech government seized control of the cathedral in 1954. Years later, after the return of democracy to the country, officials in Prague agreed to return it to the Church and began a judicial process that lasted 13 years.
Petr Haje, spokesman for the Prague Castle, said that as of the moment of the handover, “the management declines any responsibility for visitors or for the sale of tickets to the Cathedral. Visits to the Castle…no longer include entrance to the Cathedral, and the new Church administrators will be the ones to offer guided tours of the royal crypt, the tower, and the apse,” Haje said.
The Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, praised the decision saying, “A monument like the Cathedral of St. Vitus is part of the cultural heritage of the people, and thus everyone together will have to assume responsibility for maintaining it.”
The cardinal said there are plans to make improvements to the Cathedral in order to bring more dignity to the liturgy, as well as to dedicate a chapel to St. Adalberto, who was bishop of Prague and suffered martyrdom in 997.