Apostolic letter of bishop Dusan

Apostolic letter of bishop Dusan Špiner on the 30th Anniversary of his bishop's ordination

Beloved, all, to whom it may concern, all, who feel addressed, please accept my apostolic letter and anniversary blessing.

It has been thirty years since I accepted the fullness of Christ’s priesthood in apostolic succession from the hands of the martyr’s personality of Felix Maria Davídek, Bishop of the silenced Church[1]. At this anniversary, I note with surprise that under the communist oppression I was carrying this gift only for ten years. Another twenty years, however, I have been carrying it under the oppression of the official Church. It’s to surprise, humility, but also defiance.

To surprise – the Church opened its door widely at the Second Vatican Council. The official Church, however, did not spiritually resist the pressure of the world and moved back into the old walls. Emphasis has been placed on the official procedures, the ecclesiastical law and the ecclesiastical diplomacy. It sticks to the notion of exclusivity of the Catholic Church in the history of salvation and returns to the pompous rituals of the past. In terms of organization, after a 40-year break, we have picked up again on the Pre-Council Church in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, allowing the current conservatives and fundamentalists to operate the Church more as a museum, than as a community, which is able to move forward even with certain risks. Very sadly, the Church structure is becoming more and more committed to the secular power, with which it creates a political alliance.

The early Church considered a common Christian home[2] to be a pastoral basis of the entire movement. The official Church has gradually transformed the early community of people of God to the structure of hierarchs. Instead of prefiguring the way of all people in the search of the Kingdom of God, the Church has established itself as the final station and presents itself as already perfect and glorified. No, beloved, the Church is not the Kingdom of God! The Church refers to the Kingdom of God to such an extent as it does in new situations what Jesus did at that time. By word and sacraments, the Church opens people for the arrival of the Kingdom of God, enables the life of community, professes faith and serves all in solidarity. That’s what we learned at Davídek’s school and the community of the silenced Church also continues in that spirit.

To humility – I must humbly admit that the official Church successfully continues the program of biological destruction via letting us die out at the edge of social happenings. Especially in Slovakia, the official Church enforces its policy with ease and support of most believers. If there were episcopal elections this year, the same bishops would be elected. I am aware of the fact that the reservations I have today about the official Church adequately apply to me as well! That is why I present my thoughts to you with sincere confession of complicity and I want those who are less prepared not to take offence at me (1 Cor. 8.9[3]).

I understood from the defiance of students that the colossal falsity of the official Church disturbs them. The entire loveliness and kindliness is part of the trap, used by the official Church for mass harvesting of souls. It lures people into it by baits for their comfort of the body and laziness of the spirit. The Church structure constantly redeems people; it deprives them of the need to become grown up, to force themselves and to walk to God on their own feet. The conceit of the official Church, however, does not deprive the immature ones of the blasphemous complicity in their own spiritual slavery, when in their unwillingness to mature they yield to it and gratefully abuse it.

We rid the life of believers of creative tension, we deprived them of spiritual work, we forgave them their sins only in order to act in an obedient and humiliated way as we, being in love with our Church, wanted them to! We left them in fallacy that heaven can be bought and the Church assigns the seats. I know today that not even a speck of guilt can be taken away from the human soul, I don’t have such power, no one in the Church does, the Church does not have it.

The official Church prepared a lot of torment, torture and murders for people in the past and today, deprived of its brachial power it blackmails, slanders and puts all possible obstacles for those who refuse to join the crowd of the Church slaves! It uses secular weapons to conquer the secular fame today and to keep the earthly power! The Church officials cease to think of the Lord, they themselves feel to be the masters of their Church’s bride. In the prophetic experience I can see how this bartered bride of theirs is wobbling, in order to fall tomorrow.

I came to the conclusion that we must seek God exactly in those ways that the official Church does not allow us to use – own understanding and work on us in freedom and responsibility. Otherwise, woe to us, churchmen, triple woe! Friends, please accept this as my sincere belief in humility. If you pinch yourself in disbelief, whether you see and hear properly, then, I tell you, yes, you do. I call for awakening by these words and you’d rather pinch yourself to wake up from unhealthy dream – the wide and comfortable road, by which the Church structures deceive us because of their own advantages, is false!

To defiance – the Church is where people live. After all, God is also present in the Church only for the sake of the people. The Church is not a political party or an elite club with the rules of the game. In the Church, only something that was acquired in spiritual warfare can become a rule. The Church is the place where I was home before I became a Christian, it is the native nest where I became part of tradition and out from which only a cuckoo can throw me out. Therefore, on the one hand, I don’t acknowledge excommunication, suspension or similar official interventions; on the other hand, however, I don’t recommend stepping out of the Church either! However, I have to oppose the official Church, explaining my defiance by justified claim of human freedom. The reservations I have about the office, even the ecclesiastical one, are reservations against the officials and their conduct, it is therefore civic disobedience.

Today, I realize even more that the Church and the bishop’s role in it has changed a lot in the past 2000 years and no barricades help the Church hide before another change. The picture of the Church is the result of tradition and we mustn’t keep secret that the reverse side of this picture is full of knots. We don’t feel guilty any more when in harmony with the faith we add new experience into the weave of traditions, regardless of what it is doing with the knots or the picture. We even wouldn’t feel guilty if we knew how and to what kind of pattern to change the image of tradition. The Church of the future is a community of our life journeys and experience. Although this vision does not have specific contours, we feel that it is already here, and at the same time it is what we expect that is yet to come. Let’s build the altar to the Holy Spirit, this unknown God!

If for many people we are the bishops only for one evening, then we are invited to them and the community inviting us is a small Church within the meaning of Basisgemeinde, although today I meet with two or three of them, so we’d rather talk about Punktgemeinde. However, it is more difficult to perceive the Church as an invitation if someone wants to come to us. It would be an obstruction of the state supervision over the Church during persecution. Ironically, at that time we had a place where to invite those who were interested in! We felt the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, changes for the better were the order of the day, enthusiasm reigned, supported by ethics of the persecuted. Today is everything rigid, and we are manipulated into a position where we as the direct heirs to the virtue of civil disobedience from the point of view of the official Church obstruct the Church’s supervision over the Church.

The mission of the silenced Church is not mass liturgical, catechetical and theological enculturation of Christianity. It searches for the Kingdom of God because the Kingdom of God, which was announced by Jesus, would be just a speculation without the rescuing and liberating practice of Christians.

The authority in the Church does not arise once in a lifetime, somewhere under the reflectors, in order to last forever. The place where mutual recognition is constantly present and re-established is the basic Church[4]. Based on my experience so far, it seems to me that being an authority means primarily taking the advice, placing oneself under the authority of the Word and the authority of the Christian community, life expressions of which the true teaching authority depends on. To encourage all of you I declare that Jesus of Nazareth is the highest authority and we meet him in our community of silenced Church! Regardless of the denial of recognition from the official Church, I confess again, proclaim, and insist on the fact that I am a bishop of this community of the silenced Church.

As a disciple I continue in Jesus’ historical life journey, on which, all our beloved sisters and brothers, we are supposed to suffer as well [5]. I tell you, however, that you are not alone, as a community of the silenced Church we have enough vocations and a lot of called. Do not bend your heads and do not be despondent! Where God calls, the official Church can’t forbid the entry. I firmly believe that God will not let vocations die out, we just need to look at it with open eyes and beating heart. The Church can be free and democratic, and we can have an authority in it even without magic, ideology and hierarchizing sophisms. We learn From Jesus of Nazareth how God ruled in history – not as emperors, monarchs or prelates, but with great respect for human freedom. The Church has the future only to the extent, to which it does not reign, but refers to the Kingdom of God.

From the spiritual warfare for the Kingdom of God and from its perception in the fullness of Christ’s priesthood, I bless you, the beloved, Yours,

 

 

 

 

+ Dušan

Olomouc,  6 September 2009

[1]silenced Church – this is the designation that I use for the clandestine Church after 1989, when the official Church refused to recognise the ecclesiastical lawfulness of Episcopal branch of Jan Blaha. I acknowledge the silenced Church and in all seriousness, as well as with awareness of full responsibility before God, I claim that I am a lawfully ordained Bishop in apostolic succession of the martyr’s personality of Felix Maria Davídek and equally lawfully ordained are all those I laid my hands on.

clandestine Church – apostolic succession of the clandestine Church is based on the Episcopal ordination of Jan Blaha, The leading personality of the clandestine Church is the Bishop Felix Maria Davídek.

official Church – expresses itself today through the official statements and acts of the Episcopal Conference of Slovakia, the Episcopal Conference of the Czech Republic and the Holy See.

[2] oikos is the household where all live together

[3] 1 Cor. 8.9 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak..

[4] Basisgemeinde, Punktgemeinde

[5] Col 1.24 24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.