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20.04.2009, author: Jiří Gračka, kategorie: News

Pastoral letter of Czech bishops about the papal visit

Bishops of the Czech Republic call on people to prepare spiritually for the visit
Pastoral letter of Czech bishops about the papal visit

With their pastoral letter from Apr 19, bishops address all Czech faithful, draw their attention to the supposed visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Czech Republic on Sep 26-28, 2009 and appeal to good preparation for such a significant event. Speaking about the identity, they say: "People and nations are afraid of losing their identity; on the other hand, they discover their inability to answer clearly and exactly questions such as: 'Who am I?' or 'What's my role in society?' These questions are not easy for us. However, if we fail to answer them, our Christian self-consciousness and strength as well as our place within the society will cease." This was the reason, they say, why three theological virtues – faith, hope, and love, "corner-stones of our Christian identity" – were chosen as a principal theme for the journey.

The letter also explains the motto of the planned visit, The Love of Christ is our strength. "We do not want to push ourselves by power, we do not struggle for gaining dominance over anyone, we respect freedom of every person, but we are strong and firm, longing to win through the power of love. The latest Popes call our culture and tradition as a 'civilization of love.' In our efforts we are bearers of the culture founded by Ss. Cyril and Methodius as well as of the St. Wenceslaus' tradition. We are citizens of our country, the Czech Republic, and at the same time we are Christians." Bishops then call on people to good spiritual preparation: "Let us prepare ourselves in personal as well as common prayer. Let us prepare through thematic reading of the Bible as well as spiritual writings."

Concluding their letter, bishops speak about the need of Hope, lacking within the society that faces "destructive wave of evil," and exhort the faithful to "give (other people) hope, assuring them that it is not impossible to achieve good and have the true joy here and now, telling them that they needn't be afraid of the future but they can enter it bravely." They also note the corrupted image of Love and state: "True love is a devoted care of others and its beginning rises from overcoming the lack of interest. Do we know what people around us need? … Let us overcome our laziness, convenience, selfishness, shyness and fear of refusal and talk to the others. To find courage and strength for it we must firmly rely on our faith in God and proclaim it with all our lives, through every word and act."

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