Tomáš Halík

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Tomáš Halík
Tomas Halik.jpg
Halík at an anti-Nazi demonstration in Prague's Old Town Square, 2007
Born (1948-06-01) 1 June 1948 (age 70)
Alma mater Charles University in Prague
Occupation Priest, philosopher, theologian
Known for Ietsism
Notable work
Patience With God
Night of the Confessor
AwardsCardinal König Prize
Romano Guardini Prize
Templeton Prize
POL Order Zaslugi RP kl5 BAR.png Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
Halik signature.svg

Tomáš Halík (Czech: [ˈtoma:ʒ ˈɦali:k]; [1] born 1 June 1948) is a Czech Roman Catholic priest, philosopher, and theologian. He is a professor of Sociology at the Charles University in Prague, pastor of the Academic Parish by St. Salvator Church in Prague, and president of the Czech Christian Academy. Since 1989, he has lectured at a number of universities and international scientific conferences in Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia, Canada, and Southern Africa. He was also a visiting professor at Oxford University, Cambridge University and Harvard University. [2]

Priest person authorized to lead the sacred rituals of a religion (for a minister use Q1423891)

A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.

Sociology Scientific study of human society and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions

Sociology is the scientific study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture of everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance, and change or social evolution. While some sociologists conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.

St. Salvator Church church in Prague

St. Salvator Church is one of two churches in the Klementinum, in Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic.


He is an author of numerous books on the matter of religion and spirituality and he's also a recipient of numerous awards and prizes including Templeton Prize, [3] Romano Guardini Prize [4] and honorary degree from Oxford University. [5] In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI granted him the title of Monsignor Honorary Prelate of His Holiness. [2] [6]

The Templeton Prize is an annual award granted to a living person who, in the estimation of the judges, "has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works". It was established, funded and administered by John Templeton starting in 1972, and then after 1987 by the John Templeton Foundation.

Romano Guardini 20th-century German theologian and Catholic priest

Romano Guardini was an Italian-born German Catholic priest, author, and academic. He was one of the most important figures in Catholic intellectual life in the 20th century.

Pope Benedict XVI 265th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XVI is a senior prelate of the Catholic Church who served as its head and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. Benedict's election as pope occurred in the 2005 papal conclave that followed the death of Pope John Paul II. Benedict chose to be known by the title "Pope Emeritus" upon his resignation.

As an active member of religious and cultural dissent during Communist era, Halík was appointed by Pope John Paul II as an advisor to the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers in 1992. [2] In the Saint Salvator Church in Prague, he often holds joint prayers and meditations with members of other religions such as Jews, Buddhists, [7] and even Muslims. [8] Due to his views on the other religions, his support for registered partnerships (but not gay marriage), and his stance on immigration, he has received both praise and criticism. [9] [10]

Pope John Paul II 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint

Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.


Communist era

Halík converted to Roman Catholicism at 18 years old, due to the influence of writers like G. K. Chesterton and Graham Greene. He studied Sociology and Philosophy at Charles University, in Prague, then Czechoslovakia, where he was a student of Jan Patočka. He moved briefly abroad to study English at the University of Wales, in Bangor, where he was surprised by the Soviet-led invasion of his country, meant to crush the Prague Spring, in August 1968. He returned to Prague, where he graduated in 1972. He did a speech at his doctoral graduation ceremony that was deemed subversive by the Communist regimen, leading him to be banned from teaching or holding any academic position. He then worked as a psychotherapist, from 1972 to 1975. He held the chair of Psychology of Work for the Institute of the Ministry of Labour, from 1975 to 1984. Meanwhile, Halík studied clandestinely Theology in Prague, and on 21 August 1978, was secretly ordained as a Catholic priest in Erfurt, East Germany. He studied and received a post degree in Psychology from the Institute of Medicine in Prague in 1984. He worked as a psychotherapist for drug addicts and alcoholics at the clinic for cure of addictions of the Charles University, in Prague, from 1984 to 1990. In the 1980s he was active in the "underground church" and was a close associate of Cardinal František Tomášek, before the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989.

G. K. Chesterton English mystery novelist and Christian apologist

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG, was an English writer, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, lay theologian, biographer, and literary and art critic. Chesterton is often referred to as the "prince of paradox". Time magazine has observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out."

Graham Greene English writer, playwright and literary critic

Henry Graham Greene, better known by his pen name Graham Greene, was an English novelist regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Combining literary acclaim with widespread popularity, Greene acquired a reputation early in his lifetime as a major writer, both of serious Catholic novels, and of thrillers. He was shortlisted, in 1966 and 1967, for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Through 67 years of writings, which included over 25 novels, he explored the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world, often through a Catholic perspective.

Charles University oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic

Charles University, known also as Charles University in Prague or historically as the University of Prague, is the oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1348, it was the first university in Central Europe. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe in continuous operation and ranks in the upper 1.5 percent of the world’s best universities. Today, the university consists of 17 faculties located in Prague, Hradec Králové and Pilsen. Its academic publishing house is Karolinum Press. The university also operates several museums and two botanical gardens.

Democratic regime

After the "Velvet Revolution", which meant the triumph of democracy in his country, he was one of the external advisers of Czech president Václav Havel. Pope John Paul II appointed him as an adviser to the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers in 1992. He licenciated in Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University, in Rome, in 1992. The same year he took a higher doctorate in Sociology from Charles University and ThDr.hab. in Practical Theology at the Pontifical Theological University in Warsaw, Poland. Halík joined the Sociology Faculty at his alma-mater in 1993 and became a professor in 1997. He is also the head of the Religious Studies Department. As a visiting fellow, he held lectureships at both Oxford University and Cambridge University, in England. Hálik is the rector of the Church of the Holy Saviour, in Prague, since 1990, and co-founder and longtime President of the Czech Christian Academy. Pope Benedict XVI nominated him monsignor, as an honorary prelate of the pope, in 2008. [11]

Václav Havel playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and 1st President of the Czech Republic

Václav Havel was a Czech statesman, writer and former dissident, who served as the last President of Czechoslovakia from 1989 until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992 and then as the first President of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. As a writer of Czech literature, he is known for his plays, essays, and memoirs.

Pontifical Lateran University

The Pontifical Lateran University, also sometimes referred to as the Pontifical University of Apollinaire, is a university by pontifical right based in Rome. The university also hosts the central session of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. The university is known as "The Pope's University". Its Grand Chancellor is the Vicar General to the Holy Father for the Diocese of Rome. Four of its graduates have been canonized. As of 2014 the Pontifical Lateran university had students from more than a hundred countries.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

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.

Secularism, as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the "indifference to, or rejection or exclusion of, religion and religious considerations." As a philosophy, secularism seeks to interpret life on principles taken solely from the material world, without recourse to religion. In political terms, secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institution and religious dignitaries. Under a brief definition, secularism means that governments should remain neutral on the matter of religion and should not enforce nor prohibit the free exercise of religion, leaving religious choice to the liberty of the people. One manifestation of secularism is asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, or, in a state declared to be neutral on matters of belief, from the imposition by government of religion or religious practices upon its people. Another manifestation of secularism is the view that public activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be uninfluenced by religious beliefs or practices.

Tomáš Halík is a member of several scientific societies, including the European Society for Catholic Theology, the International Society for the Psychology of Religion, and Washington-based Czechoslovak Society for Science and the Arts.

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 [12] and was awarded Europe's best theological book prize. [13]

Halík has publicly speculated a run for the Czech presidency. In 2015, Zdeněk Škromach announced he would run, [14] to which Halík had said the year earlier that, if there were no candidates worthy, naming Škromach as one such candidate, he would have a moral obligation to run. [15] However, in early 2016, he stated that he believed the office of president no longer appealed to him, as "it is the time for demagogues" such as the current Czech President Miloš Zeman and Donald Trump. He also did not believe he had high chances of succeeding in the 2018 race, as he would have only won "the voices of the sane and educated", believing that he would need to go against his moral compass and campaign on a populist and controversial platform. [16]

Honors, awards and prizes

Tomáš Halík has received many distinguished awards for his merits in inter-religious dialogue, his scholarly and pedagogical activity, his promotion of spiritual freedom and human rights, and for literature, including:


Books in English

Books in Czech

Books in French

Books in Italian

Books in German

Books in Spanish

Books in Portuguese

Books in Dutch

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  1. In isolation, Tomáš is pronounced [ˈtoma:ʃ].
  2. 1 2 3 "Monsignor Tomáš Halík". Under Caesar's Sword, University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  3. Tomáš Halík at Templeton Prize Official Website
  4. "ROMANO GUARDINI PRIZE: TO BE AWARDED TO CZECH PHILOSOPHER TOMAS HALIK ON 27 SEPTEMBER". Società per l'Informazione Religiosa. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  5. 1 2 "Oxford announces honorary degrees for 2016". University of Oxford. 25 February 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  6. "Tomáš Halík se stane monsignorem" (in Czech). 20 June 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  7. "Mezináboženský dialog na Foru 2000" (in Czech). Katolický týdeník. 17 October 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  8. "INTERVIEW S TOMÁŠEM HALÍKEM" (in Czech). SHEKEL.CZ. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  9. "Válka mezi kardinálem Dukou a Halíkem kvůli pochodu homosexuálů? Nesmysl" (in Czech). 20 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  10. "Rozdělená nejen společnost ale i církev. Duka versus Halík, papež František?" (in Czech). 25 April 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  11. Tomáš Halik at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  14. "Škromach chce kandidovat na prezidenta. Konec srandy, beru to vážně, tvrdí | Domov". 2 February 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  15. "Halík zvažuje kandidaturu na Hrad. Nezříkám se zodpovědnosti, uvedl". 4 August 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  16. "Halík: Církev mi kandidaturu nezakázala, ani nemohla, Zeman nemluví pravdu". (in Czech). Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  17. Bingham, John (13 March 2014). "Czech priest and former dissident Tomáš Halík wins £1.1m Templeton prize". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 March 2014.