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Surprise from Prague / The consensus man replaces the cardinal on the edge, the Vatican is buying another time

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The consensus man replaces the cardinal on the edge, the Vatican is buying another time Three reasons why the exchange of Cardinal Duka for Archbishop Graubner is surprising. After 12 years, the Prague Archdiocese received a new archbishop: 79-year-old Cardinal Dominika Duku was soon replaced by 74-year-old Jan Graubner, who had headed the Olomouc Archdiocese since 1992 – for two decades – and was the metropolitan of the Moravian ecclesiastical province. The search for a new Archbishop of Prague took an unusually long time – four years. The canonical age of 75, when each bishop is obliged to present his resignation to the pope, reached Duka as early as 2018. The choice of his successor is, after all, quite surprising – for three reasons. The first reason is age. Graubner will turn 75 next summer. If the pope immediately accepted his resignation, he would “warm up” at the head of the Prague Archdiocese for only one year. Although, of course, it is assumed that František will let Graubner serve him for a few years, his work in Prague can only be perceived as a temporary “interlude”. Naturally, his health will play an important role – in the winter of 2020, Graubner overcame the complicated course of covid-19. The second surprise is the name itself. It has long been rumored behind the scenes that although the Vatican is intensely looking for Duke’s successor, it is not doing very well. The reason is prosaic. As we wrote in the commentary at the beginning of the year, there are no staff. As the position of the Archbishop of Prague is important not only from a church but also from a political and social point of view and is also traditionally associated with the rank of cardinal (although the current pope may be different), the Vatican preferred to have one of the incumbent bishops or at least higher-ranking verified priests (the name of the archbishop of the Břevnov Monastery, Prokop Siostrzonek, was inflected). However, several did not pass the “selection process” – either because of their age (one of the biggest favorites, Bishop Tomáš Holub of Pilsen, is still only 54 years old) or insufficient support during the apostolic nunciature’s consultations with local clergy and laity – or rejected the Vatican’s offer. As we wrote in February: “There is a widespread notion among people that the so-called Many priests suffer from mitrose (as the desire to become a bishop is smiling). And although careerism is also present in the ecclesiastical environment, the demands for the office of bishop have multiplied in recent times to such an extent that the addressed priests have often rejected the episcopal appointment. This is one of the reasons why the election of new bishops in the case of some dioceses is disproportionately lengthy. ”Thus, Dukov’s Moravian counterpart had to accept the election. Finding Duke’s successor Mitrose? Quite the opposite. Staff and a “kingmaker” are missing Why does the selection of a new Prague archbishop take so long? And what personality profile should he have? The third reason why Graubner’s choice is surprising – or rather interesting – is his personality. Although it certainly cannot be described as anti-Duke, it differs significantly from it. While Duka knew how to go on the edge and did not avoid open confrontations, Graubner is more of a man of compromise and consensus. Unlike Duke, Graubner never even got involved in political and social events. Although it must be acknowledged that the Czech president’s neighbor in Hradčany cannot completely avoid this, which, on the contrary, can be a more reserved or proactive approach. And he was inherent in the outgoing archbishop. It is interesting that in one of the few situations where Graubner, from the position of the current president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference, reacted publicly, it was an indirect criticism of Cardinal Duka. This happened a year ago, when the Archbishop of Olomouc criticized the candidacy of publicly known Catholics for Okamura’s SPD. In both cases, it was people close to Duke. In any case, with the appointment of Archbishop Graubner, the Vatican gained several years to find a new leader in the Czech Church. However, this does not mean that the “transitional archbishop” does not need to be taken seriously. Contemporaries of John XXIII. they would be able to talk about it.

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