František Tomášek

František Tomášek (30 June 1899, Studénka, Moravia – 4 August 1992, Prague, Czechoslovakia) was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in Bohemia, the 34th Archbishop of Prague, and a Roman Catholic theologian. His "cautious but resolute opposition to the Czechoslovak communist regime helped to bring about its peaceful demise in the 1989 Velvet Revolution".[1]

His Eminence

František Tomášek
Archbishop of Prague
František Tomášek
Cardinal František Tomášek – memorial plaque in Moravská Huzová
ChurchRoman Catholic
Term ended1991
PredecessorJosef Beran
SuccessorMiloslav Vlk
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Santi Vitale, Valeria, Gervasio e Protasio
Ordination5 July 1922
Consecration13 October 1949
Created cardinal

by Paul VI
Personal details
Birth nameFrantišek Tomášek
Born30 June 1899
Studénka, Austria-Hungary
(now Czech Republic)
Died4 August 1992 (aged 93)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
(now Czech Republic)
Previous postAuxiliary Bishop of Olomouc (1949-1965)
Apostolic Administrator of Prague (1965-1977)
MottoLaxabo Rete
Coat of armsFrantišek Tomášek's coat of arms
Styles of
František Tomášek
Cardinal Frantisek Tomasek COA
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal


Early life and education

Born in 1899 in what was then part of the Austrian Empire, Tomášek was one of the six children of a schoolteacher who died when he was still a boy. After completing his schooling and military service, he studied at Saints Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology of Olomouc and was ordained on 7 May 1922. He taught religion in schools. Later he also taught at the Cyril and Methodius theological faculty, where he obtained a doctorate in 1938. Soon after, the Nazi occupation led to the closure of the Czech universities and Tomášek returned to schoolteaching. After the war, Tomasek again taught in the faculty and also obtained a second doctorate.


In spite of the opposition of the communist government in power in Czechoslovakia since February 1948, which, as well as imposing censorship on sermons and pastoral letters and banning many religious organisations, demanded its own approval for Church appointments, Pope Pius XII appointed Tomášek Auxiliary Bishop of Olomouc on 12 October 1949. Tomášek was secretly consecrated the very next day.

In 1950 Tomášek, with all the other bishops loyal to Rome, and half the priests were arrested and sent to labour camps. Monasteries and all but two of the Catholic seminaries were closed, and the Eastern-rite Catholic Church in Slovakia was banned. In 1953 Tomášek was freed from the Želiv camp, but allowed to function only as parish priest in the village of Moravská Huzová.

To the surprise of many, the government permitted him to attend the Second Vatican Council, the only Czechoslovak bishop able to participate in all the sessions (1962–1965).

In 1965 Cardinal Josef Beran, the Archbishop of Prague, was allowed to leave Czechoslovakia in accordance with an agreement that, in return for concessions to the Church, he would remain in Rome,[2] and Tomášek was appointed on 18 February 1965 to administer the archdiocese, thus finally being permitted to leave Moravská Huzová.

Tomášek speedily pledged support for the reforms of the Prague Spring under Alexander Dubček in 1968. With the greater freedom allowed, he set about applying also the reforms instituted by the Second Vatican Council. The Soviet-led invasion of August 1968 again removed almost all the freedoms won under Dubček, though the state permission for the Eastern-rite Church to exist was not revoked.


On 24 May 1976 Pope Paul VI anonymously (in pectore) appointed Tomášek to the College of Cardinals. In the following year, the Pope felt the danger of reprisals by the Czechoslovak government was sufficiently diminished for him to publish the appointment on 27 June 1977. He also appointed Tomášek Archbishop of Prague, the see over which it had been considered more prudent to let Tomášek continue to have only the powers of an apostolic administrator even after the death of Cardinal Beran on 17 May 1969.

Tomášek took part in the conclaves of 1978 that elected John Paul I and John Paul II. The latter, an old friend of Tomášek, infused new courage in the leaders of the Catholic Church in east-central Europe, including Tomášek, who proceeded to criticise government policies openly and to back initiatives by lay organisations demanding greater freedom, including Charter 77.

Late life and death

The Velvet Revolution of November 1989 was followed by Pope John Paul II's April 1990 visit to Czechoslovakia, his first visit to a country, other than his native Poland, under a similar regime. On 27 March 1991, when Tomášek was almost 92 years old (long past the age of 75 at which bishops are to offer their resignation), his resignation from the governance of the Archdiocese of Prague was made effective. He died on 4 August 1992.

His residence headquarters in Prague

František Tomášek's residence headquarters in Prague were used as the Emperor's palace in the filming of Amadeus, according to the credits.[3]


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ TIME Magazine. Tremors of Change 29 March 1968
  3. ^ page on Amadeus (Retrieved December 27, 2017)

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Josef Beran
Archbishop of Prague
Succeeded by
Miloslav Vlk
Association of Catholic Clergy Pacem in Terris

Association of Catholic Clergy Pacem in Terris (Czech: Sdružení katolických duchovních Pacem in terris, Slovak: Združenie katolíckych duchovných Pacem in terris), abbreviated SKD PiT or simply PiT, was a regime-sponsored organisation of Catholic clergy in the communist Czechoslovakia between 1971 and 1989. Its name was taken from the well-known encyclical Pacem in terris of the reform Pope John XXIII.

SKD PiT was registered on August 1, 1971 and its stated purposes were 'peace in the world' and 'friendship between nations'. But in fact its raison d'etre was rather to control and spy the clergy and influence the life of the whole church. Its founding assembly was held in Prague on August 31, 1971.

In the 1970s, its role in the Czech and Slovak Catholic church was not endangered by the official leadership of the church, who did not approve of the Association but could do almost nothing to prevent its actions. The situation changed slowly after the new Pope John Paul II from a communist country was elected in 1978 and adopted a more principled course against communists. The most important papal document here is Quidam episcopi from 1982, prohibiting membership in political organisations to priests.

The Prague archbishop František Tomášek followed the pope and prohibited membership in SKD PiT to his priests. SKD PiT started to weaken in the 1980s and collapsed immediately after the Velvet revolution in November 1989. The official dismantling of the organisation was dated December 7 and it was announced at December 11, 1989 to Tomášek.

Bohumír Šmeral

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Czechoslovak Bishops' Conference

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Diocese of Buto

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Josef Beran

Josef Beran (29 December 1888 – 17 May 1969) was a Czech Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Archbishop of Prague from 1946 until his death and was elevated into the cardinalate in 1965.Beran was imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp during World War II after the Nazis had targeted him for "subversive and dangerous" behavior where he almost died in 1943 due to disease. He was freed in 1945 upon Allied liberation and Pope Pius XII nominated him to head the Prague archdiocese. But the introduction of the communist regime saw him imprisoned and placed under house arrest. His release in 1963 came with the condition that he could not perform his episcopal duties and he was later exiled to Rome in 1965 as part of a coordinated deal between the Church and the national government.His cause for canonization opened in 1998 and he became titled as a Servant of God. He was granted the rare honor of being buried in Saint Peter's Basilica upon his death and remained the sole Czech national to be buried there until 2018 when his remains were transferred back to his native homeland for internment in the Saint Vitus Cathedral.

Julius Gábriš

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List of Catholic philosophers and theologians

This is a list of Catholic philosophers and theologians whose Catholicism is important to their works. The names are ordered by date of birth in order to give a rough sense of influence between thinkers.

List of bishops and archbishops of Prague

The following is a list of bishops and archbishops of Prague. The bishopric of Prague was established in 973, and elevated to an archbishopric on 30 April 1344. The current Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Prague is the continual successor of the bishopric established in 973 (with a 140-year sede vacante in the Hussite era). In addition, the city also has an Orthodox archeparchy (archbishopric), Greek Catholic exarchate and the Prague diocese and patriarchate of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church seat in Prague.

Miloslav Vlk

Miloslav Vlk (Czech: [ˈmɪloslaf ˈvl̩k]; 17 May 1932 – 18 March 2017) was a Czech prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Prague from 1991 to 2010. He was made a cardinal in 1994. He was also the President of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (1993–2001).

Největší Čech

Největší Čech (The Greatest Czech) is the Czech spin-off of the BBC Greatest Britons show; a television poll of the populace to name the greatest Czech in history. The series was broadcast by the national public-service broadcaster, Česká televize. The presenter of the programme was Marek Eben, who was also nominated to be in the Top 100; however, since he was presenting the show he was not eligible to be included in the final list.

The counting and ranking of the nomination votes took place during January 2005; the top 100 were announced on 5 May; and the final rankings were announced on 10 June 2005. The first round was won by the fictional genius Jára Cimrman, but he was disqualified.

Oto Mádr

Mons. ThDr. Oto Mádr, dr. h. c. (15 February 1917 – 27 February 2011) was a Czech Roman Catholic priest, theologian, university professor, long-time political prisoner and the chief editor of Theological Texts (Czech: Teologické texty).

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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Prague

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Studénka (Czech pronunciation: [ˈstudɛːŋka]; German: Stauding) is a town of approximately 9,500 residents in Nový Jičín District of the Moravian-Silesian Region, Czech Republic. It is on the mainline railway between Kraków and Prague, and was the scene of the Studénka train disaster 2008 and Studénka train disaster 2015. The town is situated on both sides of the historical border between Moravia and Silesia. It became best known as the birthplace of František Tomášek.

Systematic theology

Systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that formulates an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the doctrines of the Christian faith. It addresses issues such as what the Bible teaches about certain topics or what is true about God and his universe. It also builds on biblical disciplines, church history, as well as biblical and historical theology. Systematic theology shares its systematic tasks with other disciplines such as constructive theology, dogmatics, ethics, apologetics, and philosophy of religion.


Tomášek (feminine Tomášková) is a common Czech surname, meaning "little Thomas". Notable people include:

Bohumil Tomášek, Czech basketball player

František Tomášek (1899–1992), archbishop of Prague, cardinal

Rudolf Tomášek (born 1937), Czech athlete

Václav Tomášek (1774–1850), Czech composerNotable people with the Germanized version of the surname Tomaschek include:

Róbert Tomaschek (born 1972), Slovak footballer

Rudolf Tomaschek (1895–1966), a German experimental physicist

Wilhelm Tomaschek (1841–1901), a Czech-Austrian geographer and orientalist


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