PRAGUE, Dec 20 (CTK) - President Vaclav Klaus received the Papal Nuncio to the Czech Republic, Diego Causero, in the presidential seat at Prague Castle today where they exchanged Christmas wishes and Klaus expressed his invitation to Prague for Pope Benedict XVI.
"It was a polite meeting before Christmas. We wished merry Christmas and a happy new year to one another," Causero said.
The Archbishop of Prague, Miloslav Cardinal Vlk, fielded the question of a papal visit, giving the standard reply:
"This Pope will not travel as much as his predecessor and it is not much realistic to expect him to visit the Czech Republic in the following few years," Prague Archbishop Cardinal Miloslav Vlk said in an interview for Saturday's issue of the daily Mlada fronta Dnes.
Vlk added that Pope Benedict XVI could connect a visit to the Czech Republic with a trip to his native Bavaria, scheduled for mid-September, 2006.
The article then delves into the nitty gritty of Czech politics, as it notes that the Archbishop won't be meeting with the president for Christmas due to strain in the relationship. Vlk's comments on the recent signing of an amendment to a law governing church education and charities was unconsitutional 'disappointed' the president. In addition to this, a treaty between the Czech Republic and the Holy See has been stalled for a number of years:
During the past three years, deputies have not agreed on the treaty. Klaus said he would not sign it in the proposed version as it would guarantee too many privileges for the Catholic Church.
Read the complete article Klaus receives Papal Nuncio, invites Pope Benedict XVI to Prague from Prague Daily Monitor.
An interesting article in that it touches on the continuing struggle in Eastern Europe (in the new alignment, the Czech Republic is actually in Central Europe) as post-communist states continue to feel their way across the religious/political landscape. But hey, not every country can be Poland.
UPDATE 12/21, 10:01 AM
From a different article of Prague Daily Monitor:
PRAGUE, Dec 20 (CTK) - Pope Benedict XVI will probably come on a visit to Prague next September, Prague Archbishop Cardinal Miloslav Vlk told CTK today.
In such a case, the Pope will link his visit to the Czech Republic with the planned trip to his native Bavaria, Vlk said, adding that Benedict XVI has already received the invitation by Czech bishops, but an invitation from President Vaclav Klaus is necessary, too.