Czech Republic

Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka Appointed as Cardinal

6. 1. 2012, 22:22

The Holy Father Benedict XVI announced today before the Angelus Domini following the divine service of the Epiphany Feast the names of 22 new Cardinals. Among them was the Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka OP.

Vatican/Prague: The Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka is historically the 11th Cardinal among the Prague Archbishops and the 22nd Cardinal in the Czech and Moravian dioceses. The Czech Republic has two Cardinals. The second Cardinal is Miloslav Vlk who is turning 80 this May and will no longer partake in the Papal conclave which can only be attended by cardinals under 80.

Other important Czech Cardinals of modern history were for instance Cardinal Tomáš Špidlík, who died in Rome on April 16, 2010, Cardinal František Tomášek or Cardinal Josef Beran.

Cardinal Dominik Duka was born on 26 April 1943 in Hradec Kralove to a family of an army officer who took part in the anti-Nazi resistance abroad. His father left for Italy in 1944 and later through Switzerland to England, where he fought in the Czechoslovakian army; in the 1950's he was imprisoned together with other officers from the Western Front.

In 1960, Jaroslav Duka finished the J. K. Tyl Grammar School in Hradec Kralove, he then worked in the factory for three years and was taught to be a locksmith. In 1962-1964 he did his compulsory military service. After much protraction, he was admitted to enter the Ss Cyril and Methodius' Faculty of Theology in Litomerice in 1965. On 5 January 1968 he entered the secret novitiate of the Dominican order with the religious name Dominik and on 6 January 1969 he took his temporary vows. He was ordained priest on 22 June 1970 by Cardinal Stepan Trochta, bishop of Litomerice. For five years he worked in boundary parishes of the Archdiocese of Prague (Chlum svate Mari, Jachymov, Nove Mitrovice – all of them are part of the Diocese of Plzen today). On 7 January 1972 he took his solemn vows in the Dominican order.

In 1975, his "State Approval of the Priestly Service" was taken off and he worked in Skoda Plzen for fifteen years; at the same time he lived the illegal religious life and studied. In 1975-1986 he was a vicar of the Dominican provincial and from 1976 to 1981 a master of the clergy. He participated in the establishment of order's secret study centre and organized religious activities for youth in the entire Czechoslovakia. In 1979 he graduated a Licentiate of Theology at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St John the Baptist in Warsaw, Poland.

For his activity in the Dominican order and secret publishing of books (so-called "samizdat"), he was arrested in 1981-1982 and imprisoned in Plzen-Bory. From 1986 to 1998 he was a provincial of the Czechoslovakian Dominican Province, in 1992-1996 president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men Religious in the Czech Republic and vice-president of the European Conference of Major Superiors of Men Religious, in 1990-1998 member of the Accreditation Commission at the Czech Government, in 1990-1999 lecturer of Biblical Sciences at the Ss Cyril and Methodius' Faculty of Theology of the Palacky University in Olomouc.

On 6 June 1998, he was appointed bishop of Hradec Kralove by Pope John Paul II and on 26 September 1998 he was ordained by Archbishop Karel Otcenasek and co-consecrators Cardinal Miloslav Vlk and Archbishop Giovanni Coppa, Apostolic Nuncio, at the cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Hradec Kralove.

On 13 February 2010 he was appointed 36th Archbishop of Prague by Pope Benedict XVI.

In 2000-2004, he was vice-president of the Czech Bishops' Conference. He is president of the Commission for the Doctrine of Faith and the Commission for the Catholic Education within the Czech Bishops' Conference.

On January 6, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI. appointed him as a cardinal. Cardinal Duka is to accept the insignia of cardinalate in Vatican on February 18 and 19, 2012.

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