The Remains of Czech Cardinal Jozef Beran to Return to Prague

Source: FSSPX News

Cardinal Jozef Beran.

Pope Francis has authorized the repatriation of the remains of Cardinal Jozef Beran, currently buried in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The remains will be brought to Prague, in the Czech Republic.

Cardinal Jozef Beran was born at Plzen, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian empire and subsequently become Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic. He was ordained a priest on June 10, 1911, in Rome, and arrested by the Nazi occupation on June 6, 1940, who imprisoned him without a trial at the concentration camp of Dachau in Germany. He survived a typhoid epidemic and was freed only in May 1945, when the camp was liberated by American forces. When he returned to Prague, the head of state decorated him with the Iron Cross and the Heroes of the Resistance medal—the two highest honors of the country.

In 1946, he was consecrated a bishop and appointed archbishop of Prague, or the head of the Church in Czechoslovakia, by Pius XII.

After the Communists took power in 1948, Archbishop Beran forbade the clergy to swear loyalty to the new regime, saying that such an action would be “a betrayal of the Catholic Faith.” He publicly protested against the confiscation of property belonging to the Archdiocese of Prague, and against the violation of the rights of the Church, declaring that the Church “should enjoy the absolute freedom to which She is entitled, under God and guaranteed by the existing Constitution.” In June 1949, Archbishop Beran was placed under house arrest. He was then declared guilty and imprisoned for 14 years.

When he was freed in 1963, the Czech primate was prevented from exercising his episcopal ministry. He offered his resignation to Pope Paul VI several times, but it was not accepted. In exchange for concessions made to the Church by the government, he was exiled to Rome in February 1965. Appointed cardinal by Paul VI, he died in Italy in 1969, after expressing the wish to be buried in his native land.