THE VATICAN’s surprise decision to recall Róbert Bezák from his post of the Trnava archbishop continues to provoke strong emotions among Slovaks.
A group of about 600 people gathered for a prayer in front of the seat of the Papal Nuncio in Bratislava on July 2, 2013, the first anniversary of Bezák’s dismissal, the SITA newswire reported.
The gathering, which was organised by former politician František Mikloško, was attended by several prominent figures, including MPs Jozef Mikloško of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Mikuláš Huba of Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) and Ján Mičovský (OĽaNO), and former MPs Vladimír Palko and Peter Zajac.
The gathering participants also wrote a letter to Pope Francis.
Bezák was officially removed as archbishop at 12:00 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.
Nevertheless, he has appeared in the Slovak and Czech media multiple times since then. Most recently, the Sme daily published an interview with him in which he says that he is expected to go and live abroad, but he refuses to leave the country before he gets a chance to “clear his name” of some allegations which have been voiced by some Church representatives and mainly by the Slovak media.
“Some information has appeared that the reason for my dismissal, which wasn’t published for my own interest, was my homosexual orientation,” Bezák wrote in his letter to the papal nuncio Mario Giordana, as reported by Sme. “I cannot leave here and leave this suspicion behind.”
Bezák insists on meeting Pope Francis, whom he views as his superior and who should tell him what his place in the Church is.
The Conference of Bishops of Slovakia considers Bezák a monk and as such he should adhere to the rules of his order, the Redemptorists, and the orders of the Prior.
“I am at the limits of what I am willing to take,” Bezák told Sme. “Obedience and modesty yes, but humiliation and shame not.”