Skip links

Imagine Being Ordained, but You Cannot Tell Your Catholic Mother You’re a Priest

Czech philosopher and theologian Father Tomas Halik, secretly ordained in 1978 in East Germany (occupied by 380,000 Soviet soldiers), almost certainly the first new priest of Pope John Paul II’s papacy. For the first 12 years of his vocation (while 73,500 Soviet troops occupied Czechoslovakia), he worked in various civilian professions, the longest as a psychotherapist helping drug and alcohol addicts, who were unaware of his priestly status.

He also worked with Prague Archbishop Cardinal František Tomášek (1977-1991) who thought Father Halik was a talented lay Catholic. (Because Archbishop Tomášek was constantly under surveillance and his office bugged, Father Halik’s East German ordaining bishop thought it safest to keep the secret even from him.)

With the collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia, Father Halik was suddenly at the center of power. A friend of President Vaclav Havel (1993-2003), the priest was even mentioned as a possible successor. He participated in the revival of the Church as general secretary of the Czech conference of bishops. In 2014, Father Halik received the Templeton Prize, a prestigious award also given to Alexandr Solzhenitsyn and Mother Teresa.

Read more at National Catholic Register

Share with Friends: