BABICE/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– A bust has been unveiled in the Czech Republic to Catholic priest Václav Drbola, who was executed by the previous Communist regime. The ceremony comes amid efforts by the Catholic Church to overcome the recent wounds of history.
Hundreds watched as the bust was officially shown in the town of Babice in honor of the priest who historians say was murdered by Communists in 1951. Drbola, who was 39, was among 11 people were sentenced to death in a series of show trials conducted by the Communist regime of what was then Czechoslovakia.
Trial investigators believe they were falsely accused of murdering three Communist officials in the Babice area, as part of a wider crackdown on church leaders and other perceived anti-Communists. The Czech Catholic Church has now launched a process of the late priest’s beatification.
Church court chairman Karel Orlita, from the Czech Brno Bishopric, believes that canon law has an “irreplaceable position in the life of the Church.” And he has made clear that he and other leaders are in favour to have priest Drbola “recognized as a true maryr and beatified” along with another priest Jana Bula, who was executed in 1952.
The regime also persecuted other church leaders. Historians say that as many as 65 Catholic priests, monks and nuns were executed or killed in prisons, while others were driven to suicide by the harsh conditions.
In addittion church properties were confiscated. The Czech government recently pledged over $3 billion in financial compensation to the churches over a period of 30 years for confiscated properties that cannot be returned.
This weekend’s ceremony, which was part of a Catholic reconciliation day, was held at a turbulent time in the country.
Storms caused power outages, fallen trees, and delayed transport in several parts of the country, while some 10,000 Czech homes were reportedly left without electricity.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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