Dominik Duka

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Dominik Duka

Cardinal, Archbishop of Prague
Primate of Bohemia
Dominik Duka 2014.jpg
Appointed13 February 2010
Installed10 April 2010
PredecessorMiloslav Vlk
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Santi Marcellino e Pietro
Ordination22 June 1970
by Štěpán Trochta SDB
Consecration26 September 1998
by Karel Otčenášek
Created cardinal18 February 2012
by Benedict XVI
Personal details
Born (1943-04-26) 26 April 1943 (age 76)
Hradec Králové, Czechoslovakia
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
  • Bishop of Hradec Králové (1998–2010)
  • Apostolic Administrator of Litoměřice (2004–2008)
  • In Spiritu Veritatis
  • (In the Spirit of Truth)
Coat of armsDominik Duka's coat of arms
Styles of
Dominik Duka
Coat of arms of Dominik Duka.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

Dominik Jaroslav Duka O.P. (born 26 April 1943, Hradec Králové, Bohemia and Moravia (now Czech Republic)) is the 36th Archbishop of Prague[1][2] and a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.[3] He previously served as Bishop of Hradec Králové.

Early years[edit]

Duka was born in 1943 in Hradec Králové. His father was an army officer who fought for the allied forces in World War II, based at RAF Cosford, who was later imprisoned in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s.[4] Duka graduated from Tyl Grammar School in Hradec Králové in 1960 and worked in a factory and as an apprentice locksmith before entering military service from 1962 to 1964.[4]

Priestly ministry[edit]

On 6 January 1969 he made temporary profession in the Dominican Order and on 22 June 1970 he was ordained a priest by Cardinal Štěpán Trochta, Bishop of Litoměřice. For five years he worked in parishes of the Archdiocese of Prague and, on 7 January 1972, he made his solemn profession in the Dominican Order.[4]

In 1975, the Communist government of Czechoslovakia revoked Duka's authorization to work as a priest. From then until the regime collapsed in 1989, Duka worked as a designer at the Škoda factory in Plzeň. In the meantime, he worked in secret in the Order and was elected the province's Vicar Provincial and served from 1975 until 1987.[4] From 1976 to 1981, he taught theology to seminarians at the Theological Faculty of Litoměřice. In 1979, he obtained a licentiate in theology at the Theological Faculty of St. John the Baptist in Warsaw, Poland.

As a result of his activities with the Dominican Order and involvement in the publication of unauthorised samizdat literature,[4] he was imprisoned in Bory Prison in Plzeň from 1981-82, where his fellow prisoners included future Czech President Vaclav Havel.[5] While in prison, Duka conducted a clandestine mass for other prisoners disguised as a chess club.[5] From 1986 to 1998 he was Prior Provincial of the Dominicans in Bohemia and Moravia.[4] From 1990–98, he was a lecturer in the Faculty of Theology at Palacký University in Olomouc, teaching Introduction to Sacred Scripture and biblical anthropology.[4]

Duka was elected president of the Conference of Major Superiors of the Czech Republic and served from 1989 to 1992. In 1992, he became the vice president of the Union of European Conferences of Major Superiors, serving until 1996.


On 6 June 1998 Duka was appointed bishop of Hradec Králové and received episcopal consecration on 26 September 1998. On 13 February 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Archbishop of Prague.[4] Duka was formally installed in Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral. On his appointment, Duka said that:

"The Church must engage in a dialogue with society and must seek reconciliation with it. Twenty years ago, we were euphoric about freedom; today we live in an economic and financial crisis, and also to a certain extent in a crisis of values. So the tasks are going to be a little more difficult. But thanks to everything that’s been done, it will not be a journey into the unknown."[6]

One of Duka's chief concerns was the long-standing issue of the restitution of church property, which had been confiscated by the communist regime, and which was either never fully returned or for which the church was never compensated. The Czech Republic is one of the last countries in Europe not to have ratified a treaty with the Holy See.[6] After previous attempts at an agreement had failed – most notably in 2008 under Cardinal Vlk – the Czech government in mid-January 2012 agreed to a compensation plan, under which the country's seventeen churches, including Catholic and Protestant, would get 56% of their former property now held by the state – estimated at 75 billion koruna ($3.7 billion) — and 59 billion koruna ($2.9 billion) in financial compensation paid to them over the next thirty years. The state will also gradually stop covering their expenses over the next seventeen years.[7]

On 23 December 2011, Duka delivered the liturgy at the funeral of Vaclav Havel.[8]


On 18 February 2012, Duka was made Cardinal-Priest of Santi Marcellino e Pietro. On 21 April 2012, he was appointed to the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.[9]

Duka was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that selected Pope Francis.

Duka contributed to a book Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family which urged fellow church leaders to maintain the church's rules regarding marriage and strengthen Catholic education about marriage and family life. The book was released before the world Synod of Bishops on the family in October 2015.[10]

In May 2016, Duka claimed that the pope could not fully understand the refugee crisis because he is not from Europe.[11] Duka has frequently spoken against Muslim immigration into Europe, and has said that Muslims can only be considered a "safe presence" if they make up less than five percent of the population.[11]

Duka has had several clashes with a Templeton winner, Tomáš Halík. In August 2015, Duka banned a conference by Jeannine Gramick, an American nun specialising in pastoral care for LGBT people, as well as the screening of a Polish film about a homosexual priest. In a statement setting out his objections, Duka said: "Most participants are not believers and have no intention of addressing their relationship with the Church. Since I do not think people with this sexual orientation are discriminated against in our country, it is not right for us to advocate things which are in direct conflict with the Catholic Church’s teachings."[12]

In 2016, Halík criticized Duka for allegedly dissociating himself from the pope and for being too close to the Czech president Miloš Zeman.[13] They disagree on Islam and its "violent tendencies".[14] Halík also criticized Cardinal Duka in October 2016, for accepting the highest state award from President Milos Zeman,[15] telling Právo: "On the October 28 national holiday, when Milos Zeman was bestowing a medal on Dominik Duka for his support for Miloš Zeman, I remembered the words a former Pope, who commented on the death of Cardinal Richelieu — He said if God exists, the cardinal will probably have a lot to explain to him; if God does not exist, the cardinal did his job perfectly. I would be ashamed to accept an award from Milos Zeman. However, Cardinal Duka seems to have got on a train he will never have the courage to leave. This makes me sorry."[16]

In February 2018, a group of Czech Catholic laymen wrote a letter to Pope Francis, expressing concern about Duka's closeness to Czech politicians including Vaclav Klaus, Milos Zeman and Tomio Okamura, and urging him not to extend Duka's mandate for the Archbishopric when it expires in April 2018.[17]

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ "České katolíky povede Duka, papež mu svěřil úřad arcibiskupa" (in Czech). iDnes. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  2. ^ Press Office of the Holy See[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Z Dominika Duky je kardinál. Jmenoval ho papež Benedikt XVI" (in Czech). Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Biography: Msgr. ThLic. Dominik Jaroslav Duka OP". Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b Zantovsky (2014) p.234-235
  6. ^ a b Richter, Jan (15 February 2010). "The Vatican appoints Dominik Duka new archbishop of Prague". Radio Prague. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  7. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Zantovsky (2014) p.13
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Wooden, Cindy (31 August 2015). "Eleven cardinals urge maintaining church rules on marriage". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  11. ^ a b Pazderka, Josef; Smith, Sean (9 May 2016). "Cardinal claims Pope can't understand refugee crisis because he is not from Europe". The Tablet. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  12. ^ Luxmoore, Jonathan (6 August 2015). "Czech cardinal clashes with Templeton winner over gay rights". Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  13. ^ Houda, Přemysl (2 July 2018). "Halík: Kardinál Duka si v 21. století hraje na baroko". Česká pozice. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Czech cardinal calls for frank dialogue on causes of terrorism". 10 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Holocaust survivor denied Czech award in government spat". The Times of Israel. 23 October 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Právo: Tomáš Halík criticises Cardinal Duka over award". Prague Monitor. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  17. ^ Fraňková, Ruth (13 February 2018). "Czech Catholics call for top archbishop to stand down". Radio Prague. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Kardinál Duka sloužil mši svatou pro lazariány" (in Czech). 17 September 2012.


  • Zantovsky, Michael (2014). Havel: A Life. London: Atlantic Books. ISBN 9780857898524.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Karel Otcenášek
Bishop of Hradec Kralove
1998 – 2010
Succeeded by
Jan Vokál
Preceded by
Miloslav Vlk
Archbishop of Prague
2010 – present
Preceded by
Aloysius Ambrozic
Cardinal-Priest of
Santi Marcellino e Pietro

2012 –