Czech-born cardinal; archbishop of Prague; theologian.
SP: Signed Photograph: 4"x5" black and white, matte-finish, early image; signed on the reverse. Only fair contrast to image side but, overall, very good.
Tomasek's "cautious" but resolute opposition to the Czechoslovak communist regime helped to bring about its peaceful demise in the 1989 Velvet Revolution. He was secretly consecrated a bishop in 1949. The following year, he and other bishops loyal to Rome, and half the priests were arrested and sent to labour camps. In 1953 Tomasek was freed from the Zeliv camp but allowed to function only as parish priest in the village of Moravska Huzova. To the surprise of many, the government permitted Tomasek to attend the Second Vatican Council, the only Czech bishop able to participate in all of its sessions. With the "exile" of Cardinal Beran to Rome, Tomasek was placed in charge of the Prague archdiocese. He speedily pledged support for the reforms of the Prague Spring under Alexander Dubcek in 1968. With greater freedom allowed, he set about applying also the reforms instituted by the Second Vatican Council. Unfortunately, the Soviet-led invasion of August 1968 again removed almost all the freedoms won under Dubcek, though the state permission for the Eastern-rite Church to exist was never revoked.
In May 1976, Pope (Saint) Paul VI created Tomasek a cardinal (in pectore). The following year, the Pope felt that the danger of reprisals by the Czech government were sufficiently diminished for him to publish Tomasek's appointment to the College of Cardinals.
The "Velvet Revolution" of November 1989 was followed by Pope (Saint) John Paul II's April 1990 visit to Czechoslovakia, his first visit to a country, other than his native Poland.
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