|Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, S.J.|
While neighbouring Poland remains deeply Roman Catholic, only one million Czech citizens declaredthemselves Catholic in a 2011 census. Five million had no religion while 3.6 million said they were atheist. Very few Czechs are aware of the positive achievements of the Jesuit order in their homeland, such as the setting up of around three dozens schools.
Jesuit priest Father Bohuslav Balbin (1621-1688), a historian and writer, was a patriot who wrote several history books on his country and promoted the Czech language.
And respected Jesuit Cardinal Tomas Spidlik (1919-2010), an expert on spirituality in eastern Christian countries, "contributed to the theological dialogue between the East and the West," said Sebek. With its passion for science, the order also opened an observatory at the top of a tower at the Clementinum college, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture in Prague, where temperatures have been recorded every day since 1775.
"And we must not forget about the numerous Jesuits incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps and in Communist prisons, whose fate is largely forgotten today. It would be good if this could change," historian Sebek notes.
Fr. Petr Kolar S.J. sees plenty of work for Jesuits nowadays. "Pity that there are so few of us. There are so many things to do, like helping the marginalized or the Roma minority," he told AFP in an austere room at the Jesuit headquarters in central Prague, next to the Baroque church of Saint Ignatius de Loyola, a Spanish priest who founded the Society of Jesus in 1534. "The order's image isn't important. What counts is what it can accomplish," he added with a smile.
Link (here) to Naharanet