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He studied sociology and philosophy in Prague and in Bangor, UK. During Communist rule, he was banned from teaching and worked in various occupations, e.g. as a psychotherapist for drug addicts and alcoholics. He studied theology clandestinely in Prague, and in 1978 he was secretly ordained as a Catholic priest in Germany. Before 1989 he was active in the so-called "underground church", and in the 1980s he was a close associate of Cardinal František Tomášek.
He often publicly discusses ethical issues, such as racism, political and religious intolerance, the process of secularisation, as well as the process of European expansion and integration. As a visiting fellow, he held lectureships at both Oxford University and the Cambridge University. He was one of the external advisors of former Czech president Václav Havel.
Tomáš Halík is a member of numerous scientific societies, including the European Society for Catholic Theology, the International Society for the Psychology of Religion, Washington-based Czechoslovak Society for Science and the Arts etc. In 2010, his book “Patience with God” (Vzdáleným nablízku: vášeň a trpělivost v setkání víry s nevírou) was named book of the month by the U.S. Catholic Book Club and was awarded Europe’s best theological book prize.
Honors, awards and prizes
Tomáš Halík has received many distinguished awards for his merits in inter-religious dialogue, for his scholarly and pedagogical activity, for his promotion of spiritual freedom and human rights, and also awards for literature, including:
- 1997: The prize of the Masaryk Academy of Arts for creative activity (Prague)
- 2002: The Andrew Elias Human Tolerance Award for outstanding services in disseminating the values of tolerance and spiritual and intellectual freedom (USA)
- 2003: The Cardinal König Merit Award for defence of human rights and spiritual freedom, Austria (Laudator: Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic)
- 2006: The Literary Award of the Czech Literary Fund for the book Night of the Confessor
- 2007: The Fenix Prize of Polish Booksellers for the best book by a foreign author, for the Both Called and Not Called book (Poland)
- 2007: The Prize of the Czech Society for Science and Art for his literary, scholarly and pedagogical activity
- 2010: The Romano Guardini Prize for outstanding merits in interpreting contemporary society, Germany (Laudator: Karel Schwarzenberg, Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic)
- 2010: The Golden St. Adalbert medal for extraordinarily efficient explanation of religion to fellow citizens, Prague (Laudator: Cardinal Dominik Duka, archbishop of Prague)
- 2010: Medal for outstanding services to inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue (Islamic society Mosaika-Platform, Prague)
- 2011: Honorary title “Man of Reconciliation 2010” for outstanding services to dialogue between Christians and Jews (The Polish Council of Christians and Jews, Warsaw)
- 2012: The Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by decision of the Polish President
- 2014: Templeton Prize
Books in English
- Patience with God: The Story of Zacchaeus Continuing in Us. Doubleday, New York–London-Toronto-Sydney-Auckland, 2009.
- Night of the Confessor: Christian Faith in an Age of Uncertainty. Doubleday/Image, New York–London-Toronto-Sydney-Auckland, 2012.
Books in Czech
- O přítomnou církev a společnost (For Present Church and Society). Prague: Křesťanská akademie, 1992. (Essays from 1989-91.)
- Sedm úvah o službě nemocným a trpícím (Seven Meditations about Serving the Diseased and Suffering). Brno: Cesta, 1993.
- Víra a kultura (Faith And Culture). Prague: Zvon, 1995.
- Ptal jsem se cest (I Asked The Roads). Prague: Portál, 1997. (Interviews with Jan Jandourek.)
- Co je bez chvění, není pevné (There is No Firmness Without Trembling). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2002.
- Oslovit Zachea (Addressing Zacheus). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2003.
- Vzýván i nevzýván (Both Called And Not Called). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2004.
- Noc zpovědníka (Night of the confessor: Paradoxes of little faith in a post-optimistic era). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2005. (Published in English under the title "Night of the Confessor")
- Prolínání světů (Overlaps of worlds). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2006.
- Vzdáleným nablízku. (To the distant ones nearby: Fervour and patience in the encounter of faith and non-belief) Prague: Lidové noviny, 2007. (Published in English under the title "Patience with God")
- Dotkni se ran (Touch the wounds: A spirituality of concern). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2008.
- Stromu zbývá naděje (Hope remains for the tree: The crisis as opportunity). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2009.
- Divadlo pro anděly (A theatre for angels: Life as a religious experiment). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2010.
- Smířená různost (Reconciled difference). Prague: Portál, 2011. (Interviews with Tomasz Dostatni)
- Úvahy na prahu tisíciletí - Ranní zamyšlení na vlnách BBC (Reflections on the eve of the millennium -Morning reflections broadcast by BBC Czech service). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2011.
- Chci, abys byl (I want you to be: Post-religion Christianity). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2012.
- Žít s tajemstvím (Living with mystery). Prague: Lidové noviny, 2013.
Books in French
- Patience avec Dieu: l'histoire de Zachée, continue à nous. CERF Paris 2014 (Patience with God)
Books in Italian
- Mistica, anima della filosofia? Fondazione nazionale „Vito Fazio-Allmayer“, Palermo 1999
- Vicino ai lontani: la pazienza della fede nel dialogo con l'ateismo. Libreria editrice Vaticana, Citta del Vaticano 2012 (Patience with God)
- La notte del confessore. Milano, Figlie di San Paolo 2013 (Night of the confessor)
Books in German
- “Du wirst das Angesicht der erde erneuern”: Kirche und Gesellschaft an der Schwelle zur Freiheit. St.-Benno-Verl., Leipzig 1993 (You shall renew the face of the earth)
- Geduld mit Gott (Die Geschichte von Zachäeus heute). Freiburg: Herder, 2010 (Patience with God)
- Nachtgedanken eines Beichtvaters. Herder Verlag, Freiburg-Wien 2012 (Night of the confessor)
- Berühre die Wunden. Herder Verlag, Freiburg-Wien 2013 (Touch the wounds)
Books in Spanish
- Un proyecto de renovación espiritual. Narcea, Madrid 1996
- Paciencia con Dios. Herder, Barcelona 2014 (Patience with God)
Books in Portugal
- "Paciência com Deus", 2013 Paulinas Editora
- "A Noite do Confessor", 2014 Paulinas Editora
- Tomáš Halík's biography. Retrieved 6 October 2011
- Bingham, John (13 March 2014). "Czech priest and former dissident Tomáš Halík wins £1.1m Templeton prize". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
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