FORMER Trnava Archbishop Róbert Bezák is the central figure of two books of interviews published in Slovakia in November: Between Heaven and Hell, by the Týždeň weekly’s editor-in-chief Štefan Hríb, and Confession, by Új Szó daily journalist Mária Vrabcová.

In both books, Bezák is critical of the Catholic Church authorities, including Bratislava Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský.

The country’s most prominent religious bookshops, Lúč and Spolok Sv. Vojtecha (SSV), are not going to sell either of the books, the Sme daily reported on November 13.

Spolok has never provided official statements on why it sells or does not sell a book published by another publishing house, its director Vendelín Pleva told Sme.

Both Pleva and the Conference of Bishops of Slovakia (KBS) have claimed that the bishops did not influence SSV’s refusal to stock the books.

Bezák presented Vrabcová’s book at a press conference on November 12, saying that the bishops will certainly read it.

“They will read it with a big magnifying glass and cut each word with a scalpel,” Sme quoted Bezák as saying at the conference.

Bezák was officially removed as archbishop on July 2, 2012, upon publication of an announcement in L’Osservatore Romano, the official daily newspaper of the Vatican. The Conference of Slovak Bishops (KBS) followed with a short statement: “Based on an apostolic visitation which took place between January 22 and February 1, 2012, the Holy Father recalled Róbert Bezák from pastoral management of the Trnava Archdiocese. We accept the decision of the Holy Father in the spirit of faith and filial obedience and we are asking for blessings for the Church in Slovakia.”

Both the Vatican and the Slovak bishops refused to explain the reasons for the decision and Bezák was forbidden from discussing the issue publically.

Nevertheless, he has since appeared in the Slovak and Czech media multiple times. Most recently, the Sme daily published an interview with him in which he says that he is expected to live abroad, but he refuses to leave the country before he gets a chance to “clear his name” of allegations which have been voiced by some Church representatives and mainly by the Slovak media.

On November 12, Bezák confirmed during the book presentation his previously stated intention to live abroad and said that he will relocate to Italy by the end of the year.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.