.- In the wake of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the Czech Republic last weekend, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk of Prague said the historic trip has placed the Church at the center of the country’s social life and has profoundly revitalized Catholics in a country that is usually seen as “atheist and secularized.”
Speaking on Vatican Radio, the cardinal said the Holy Father’s visit was a source of great encouragement for the faithful of Prague, Brno and Stara Boleslav.
“The Pope himself mentioned it, and you could see that people came not only out of curiosity over seeing a ‘celebrity,’ but above all motivated by their faith. And the Holy Father felt this, especially in Stara Boleslav, where the young people gathered. Their joy had a great impact on the Holy Father, who said after lunch with the bishops that this was an extraordinary visit,” the cardinal stated.
After noting that it was very special to have the Pope in the Czech Republic for the feast of St. Wenceslas, Cardinal Vlk said that before the Pontiff’s arrival, “The Church was seen as a small group on the fringes of society and civil life.”
With the papal visit, he continued, “Society can see that we are part of the universal Church which is worldwide, and that we follow this great moral and spiritual authority of the world who is the Holy Father.”
“I think this visit has had a profound effect on the Church’s position and situation in our society,” the cardinal said.