Note: English translations of scholarly studies available since 2/2013.
The Catholic Church through the Eyes of Contemporary Czechs and Contemporary Czechs through the Eyes of the Catholic Church Between Distrust and Expectation
Czech society is traditionally viewed as strongly anti Catholic and at the same time highly secularized or even atheistic. However, the two claims, though they are frequently regarded as almost a priory, conceal a number of questions and misunderstandings and reflect a stereotypical understanding of the relationship between religion and modern Czech society. The paper focuses first on a clarification of the fairly complex and multi layered relations of Czech society to the Catholic Church, especially in the second half of the 20th century. It points out a fairly fundamental shift occurring in the last twenty years, when a growing number of Czechs and Moravians incline to the opinion that Catholicism (and Christianity as a whole) is rather an expression of cultural identity, not an expression of institutional membership. In the second part the paper focuses on the question what part ‘modernization’ tendencies associated with Second Vatican Council and the effort of some top representatives of the Catholic Church to ‘adapt’ the agenda of the Catholic Church to contemporary problems have played in the transformations of the relationship of contemporary Czech society and Catholicism. This part aims to answer the question s of whether and how dialogue between the contemporary Catholic Church and the majority, religiously highly noncommital Czech society is possible.
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