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Czech prelate pays tribute to Havel

December 21, 2011

Archbishop Dominik Duka of Prague has paid tribute to the late Václav Havel, the writer and human rights activist who served as the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic until 2003.

“He knew the loss of freedom, the denial of human dignity, oppression and imprisonment,” said Archbishop Duka, who also suffered imprisonment under the Communist regime. “I am convinced that everyone across the country, regardless of political or religious beliefs, owes him honor and thanks.”

“John Paul II is someone very close to me, who continually startles me with his personality and inspires me,” Havel once said. “His language, constantly stressing human dignity and recalling the rights of man, has been a novelty in the papacy’s history. If the pope had been someone else, from another part of the world, without the historical experience of Poland, he probably wouldn't have had such a clear attitude to totalitarianism. John Paul II’s services in this area are undeniable.”


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