Cardinal Dominik Duka, op
Dominik Jaroslav Duka O.P. (born 26 April 1943, Hradec Králové, Bohemia (now Czech Republic) is the 36th Archbishop of Prague and a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He previously served asBishop of Hradec Králové.
Duka was born in 1943 in Hradec Králové, the son of an Officer, (and firefighter) who was based at RAF Cosford during the war. On 6 January 1969 he made temporary profession in the Dominican Order and on 22 June 1970 he was ordained a priest. For five years he worked in various parishes of the archdiocese of Prague and, on 7 January 1972, he made his solemn profession in the Dominican Order.
In 1975, the Communist government deprived him of the authorisation for the sacred ministry. For almost fifteen years – until the regime collapsed in 1989 – Duka worked as a designer at the factories of Škoda atPlzeň. In the meantime, he worked in secret in the Order as a novice master and teacher of theology. He studied at the Theological Faculty of Litoměřice. In 1979, he obtained a licentiate in theology at the Theological Faculty of St. John the Baptist in Warsaw, Poland. In 1981/82, he was jailed in Plzeň. From 1986 to 1998 he was Provincial of the Dominicans in Bohemia and Moravia.
After the fall of communism, Duka was elected Federal President of the Conference of Major Superiors and in the years 1992–1996, Vice-President of the Union of European Conferences of Major Superiors. From 1990–99, he was a lecturer in the Faculty of Theology at the Palacký University in Olomouc, teaching Introduction to Sacred Scripture and biblical anthropology.
On 6 June 1998 he was appointed bishop of Hradec Králové and received episcopal ordination on 26 September 1998. On 13 February 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him archbishop of Prague. Duka was formally installed in Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral. On his appointment, Duka said that:
"The Church must engage in a dialogue with society and must seek reconciliation with it. Twenty years ago, we were euphoric about freedom; today we live in an economic and financial crisis, and also to a certain extent in a crisis of values. So the tasks are going to be a little more difficult. But thanks to everything that’s been done, it will not be a journey into the unknown."
One of Archbishop Duka's chief concerns was the long-standing issue of the restitution of church property, which had been confiscated by the communist regime, and which were either never fully returned or for which the church was never compensated. The Czech Republic is one of the last countries in Europe not to have ratified a treaty with the Holy See. After previous attempts at an agreement had failed – most notably in 2008 under Cardinal Vlk – the Czech government in mid-January 2012 agreed to a compensation plan, under which the country's seventeen churches, including Catholic and Protestant, would get 56% of their former property now held by the state – estimated at 75 billion koruna ($3.7 billion) — and 59 billion koruna ($2.9 billion) in financial compensation paid to them over the next thirty years. The state will also gradually stop covering their expenses over the next seventeen years.
On 18 February 2012, Archbishop Duka was made Cardinal-Priest of Santi Marcellino e Pietro. On 21 April 2012, he was appointed to the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
He is chaplain general and grand cross of Order of Saint Lazarus.