BETWEEn ATHEISm anD CaTHOLICISm

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					                                                                                                        domestic affairs in the cr




Between                                                                                                     Alexandra Vedrashko




Atheism and Catholicism
      Czech religious scepticism is a political problem. The country, however, bears great potential
      to overcome its religious crisis.




O
         n the 26th of September 2009, the       Czech Republic currently belong to dif-      that the party’s religious obscurity is its
         most atheist country in Europe          ferent coalitions, they have expressed       crucial mistake; the party should clearly
         will greet the leader of the Catholic   dissatisfaction with their current politi-   represent Czech believers. Nonetheless,
Church. The religious and political au-          cal partnerships and mutual interest in      the fact that parties on both sides of the
thorities in the Czech Republic are there-       each other as coalition partners. The        political spectrum are seeking a coalition
fore discussing lingering issues between         chairman of the Social Democrats, Jiří       with the KDU indicates that partnership
the Vatican and the Czech state. As a re-        Paroubek, links his party’s diminishing      considerations are important politically.
sult, the present political and particular       popularity to its collaboration with the
spiritual conditions in the country could        Czech Communist party, and thus, he          Waffling Atheism
lead the Czech Republic to reassess its          sees a possible partner in the Christian     Yet, outside of parliamentary politics, the
stance towards the Catholic Church.                                                           religious situation appears less malleable.
    Unlike in the United States, where                                                        The Czechs have long had a problematic
Christian values are a strong component                                                       relationship with Christianity. In the 14th
of the Conservative right which calls for                  One of the first                   century, the Bohemian philosopher Jan
market deregulation and a smaller gov-                                                        Hus brought Christian reformist think-
ernment, in continental politics it is the                 Czech Christian                    ing to the Bohemian lands. Now looked
Catholic Church and affiliated parties                     parties was the                    upon as a predecessor of Martin Luther
which promote social programs based                        Christian-Social                   and the Protestant Reformation, Hus was
on increased governmental involvement.                      Party, formed                     burned at the stake in 1415 for heresy.
For example, in Germany, the Social and                                                       Until the dissolution of the Austrian-
Christian democratic parties make up                          in 1894.                        Hungarian Empire in 1918, the Catholic
the country’s centre-left governing coali-                                                    Habsburg emperors attempted (and suc-
tion. In the Czech Republic, the current                                                      ceeded during the Counter-Reformation)
Christian Democratic Union (KDU)                                                              to forcefully place the Bohemian lands
follows a tradition in which Czech Chris-        Democrats. The chairman of the KDU           under the hand of Rome, which created
tian parties have associated themselves          Jiří Čunek also admits that his party has    joint anti-Habsburg and anti-Catholic
with left and centre-left politics.              moved too far to the right; he would like    sentiments in the rising group of Czech
    One of the first Christian parties in        to regain the party’s former supporters      intellectuals during the 19th century
Czechoslovakia was the Christian-Social          who have since been won over by the          Czech nationalist movement. During
Party, formed in 1894 after Pope Leo XIII’s      left. The party has sided with the Social    Communism, religion was targeted and
Rerum Novarum established the founda-            Democrats before, most recently in the       atheism promoted. Since the last Papal
tions o
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: [...] looked upon as a predecessor of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, Hus was burned at the stake in 1415 for heresy. [...] the dissolution of the AustrianHungarian Empire in 1918, the Catholic Habsburg emperors attempted (and succeeded during the Co unter- Reformation) to forcefully place the Bohemian lands under the hand of Rome, which created joint anti-Habsburg and anti-Catholic sentiments in the rising group of Czech intellectuals during the 19th century Czech nationalist movement.
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