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Czech priest awarded Templeton Prize

March 13, 2014

A Czech priest who is a professor at Charles University in Prague has been awarded the $1.8-million Templeton Prize, which honors “a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.”

The two most recent winners of the prize were Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.

“I perceive it as an award also for my teachers because many of my teachers, they were priests, they spent many years in Communist concentration camps, or prisons and uranium mines and they had very little possibility to write or publish, and many died during Communism,” Msgr. Tomas Halik told Vatican Radio. “They inspired me morally and intellectually, and I think this award is also for them.”

“I grew up in a Czech intellectual secular family, my father was a historian of literature,” Msgr. Halik, a convert to Catholicism, recalled. “In his library there were the works of Chesterton and I discovered through him Catholicism as a rich paradox…and also through the novels of Graham Greene, and then I discovered Cardinal Newman, his emphasis on conscience and English Catholicism was for me this minority Church which was without triumphalism, and it was very near to my heart.”


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