.- “Not all those who were in the lists were collaborationists, many have been unfairly accused and the news has been blown up by the press,” the Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, said this week while in Rome for a meeting with the bishops and friends of the Focolare Movement.
The Cardinal noted that at the same time clergy members are undergoing false accusations, “members of the secret police are still holding public offices in the administration.” The Church is being accused, in large part, to distract attention from the actions these men committed while working for the Communist government, the archbishop claimed.
“In my diocese, out of 500 priests, only 45 collaborated. But all priests underwent huge pressure and blackmailing, including threats of martyrdom,” Cardinal Vlk recalled. The Cardinal himself was imprisoned during the regime and, when released, was forced to earn a living as a window cleaner, while carrying out his priestly ministry in secret.
“Not everyone is made for heroism,” Vlk said. “The two or three priests who committed major crimes have already been sent away.”
In the early nineties the Czech Church conducted an internal investigation regarding clergy involvement in the Communist regime. Following the investigation, the bishops issued letters of apology, and organized a pilgrimage of repentance to the Sanctuary of Velehrad for all those who had collaborated as spies.
In the last few days, the Czech Bishops Conference released a statement reaffirming its commitment to investigating credible accusations against members of the clergy.