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Felix Maria Davídek

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File:Davídek Coat of Arms.jpg

Felix Maria Davídek (January 21, 1921–18 August 1988) was a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He was born in Chrlice in what today is the Czech Republic. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1945 in the diocese of Brno. He was arrested by the Czech secret police and was in prison from 1950 to 1964. He was secretly ordained a bishop by Bishop Jan Blaha, under appeal to pontifical privileges granted from 1951 to 1989 to bishops in communist countries, on October 29, 1967, and was given the assignment to pastor the underground Church in Communist Czechoslovakia.[1] He died from complications of an accident in which his skin was badly burned.

Interest in Davídek greatly increased when it was disclosed after his death that, by the account of Ludmila Javorová and others, he had administered the sacrament of Holy Orders to Javorova and perhaps several other women. Bishop Blaha declared any such ordinations would have been invalid. Pope John Paul II, in his 1994 Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, wrote, "In order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance . . . I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."[2]

Other ordinations of men during the period of persecution were possibly invalid, illicit, or irregular, according to Church teaching. Some may also have been valid and lawful however. The case of Fr. Oliver Oravec, who worked in the priestly apostolate of the Jesuit Order in Rome in the late 1970s and in Canada in the 1980s, is an example of a case in which validity was presumed by Church authorities. In 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [3] however issued a declaration regarding "Some of the Bishops and priests secretly ordained [who] have not accepted the norms approved by the Holy Father" and specifically

"In reality, based on research done on each case, priestly ordination was not always conferred in a valid manner; perhaps in some cases it may have been, but there remained serious doubts about this, especially in the case of ordinations carried out by Bishop Felix Maria Davidek."

It was reported in 1991 that in 1978 the "Vatican ordered Father Davídek to cease performing the duties of a bishop."[4]

References

  1. [1] Catholic Hierarchy data page
  2. [2] Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II: Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
  3. [3] Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: On Bishops and Priests Ordained Secretly in the Czech Republic
  4. Bollag, Burton (April 12, 1991). "Vatican Rejects Secret Priests Ordained in Czechoslovakia". New York Times: p. A1. 
cs:Felix Maria Davídek

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