Halík at an anti-Nazi demonstration in Prague's Old Town Square, 2007
|Alma mater||Charles University in Prague|
|Occupation||Priest, philosopher, theologian|
|Patience With God|
Night of the Confessor
|Awards||Cardinal König Prize |
Romano Guardini Prize
Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
Tomáš Halík (Czech: [ˈtoma:ʒ ˈɦali:k]; 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.
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, Romano Guardini Prize and honorary degree from Oxford University. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI granted him the title of Monsignor Honorary Prelate of His Holiness.
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. In the Saint Salvator Church in Prague, he often holds joint prayers and meditations with members of other religions such as Jews, Buddhists, and even Muslims. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and was awarded Europe's best theological book prize.
Halík has publicly speculated a run for the Czech presidency. In 2015, Zdeněk Škromach announced he would run, 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. 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.
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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