A crazy and tasteless idea

The Czech Republic’s leading theologian, dissident and philosopher speaks out on the debate as to whether to have the funeral of the recently deceased singer Karel Gott in the national cathedral, as some leading politicians are suggesting.  

To show respect for talent of a deceased artist is one thing, another is the crazy and tasteless idea of the funeral taking place in the national cathedral.

This plan is nothing but an attempt to mythize the star of the normalization (post-1969 repression– ed.) entertainment industry period.  It’s not only a  manifestation of a devaluation of values ​​and moral kitsch, but also serves as a  politically purposeful interpretation of our modern history, since it is yet another attempt to draw religious and church symbols into the politics of the current Zeman-Babiš populism.  As such, it fall entirely into the current strategy of president Zeman’s devaluation of state awards and public holidays. At the same time, it is a manifestation of gross disrespect, not only for the heroes of the dissident movement, and for true creative artists, but also for the vast number of citizens who did not bow to Communist power.  It is also a tragicomic message of contemporary national values, national self-understanding and self-esteem, that “Gottland” is sending abroad.

I am truly curious, if our ecclesiastical nobility will engage in this blasphemy of the neo-normalization regime by lending the cathedral for the funeral. It will be another moral test of the Church, a dilemma between faithfulness to the prophetic tradition of opponents of evil and kitsch, versus bowing down in immoral servility to any power.

Tomáš Halík


Reprinted from the original website www.halik.cz, also on www.pritomnost.cz

published: 4. 10. 2019