Czech Parliament Rejects Agreement With Vatican

The Czech Parliament's decision not to ratify the 2002 agreement between the republic and the Vatican "projects a bad image in the international context," a bishops' spokesman says.

Daniel Herman, of the Catholic bishops' conference, said today: "The decision shows all the existing disagreement between the Social Democratic government, which wrote the document, and a small political representation which causes the country's isolation in the context of the former Eastern bloc countries, all of which have resolved the church-state relation."

The Italian episcopate's SIR agency reported: "In this decision, a great dose of ignorance has counted, especially in regard to canon law and the international character of the Catholic Church."

Spokesman Herman believes that Parliament's decision could have also been influenced by the "prejudices always alive since the time of the Communist regime."

The agreement established "the mutual recognition of international juridical personality, respect of religious freedom, and the right of the Church to freely exercise its apostolic mission."

It also provided for "the teaching of the Catholic religion in schools, colleges and preschool centers, a commitment to cooperate in the cultural protection and conservation of the Czech Republic, and the solution of questions relating to the patrimonial goods of the Catholic Church."