Fifty years after all monasteries and convents were forcibly closed by the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, Roman Catholic religious orders of monks and nuns in the Czech Republic have complained that there are still restrictions on monastic life, despite the collapse of communism 10 years ago."The hopes aroused by the changes of 1989 have not been fulfilled," the Czech provincials and superiors said in a recent statement. "The absence of solutions in church-state relations has proved unfavorable to religious people. Our communities have not, in consequence, met society's expectations."The statement was issued for the 50th anniversary of "Action K"—on the night of April 13-14, 1950—when all 216 men's monasteries in the then Czechoslovakia were suppressed two years after the seizure of power by the Communist Party. About 2,400 monks from 28 orders were interned in "concentration cloisters." Most of Czechoslovakia's 12,200 Roman Catholic nuns were detained the following summer and autumn when their 339 convents were taken over by army or state institutions. Monastic life revived temporarily during the Prague Spring reforms in 1968, although formal prohibitions remained in force until the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which ended communist rule. However, a spokeswoman for Czech religious orders, Sister Edyta Mendlova, said monastic life was still hampered by "legal deadlock," as well as by having no "middle generation" of monks and nuns. She added that many members of religious orders remained in temporary accommodation or had been forced to "devote all resources" to restoring buildings recently returned to them."The government has deliberately kept the church in a provisional situation, co-operating but not allowing its problems ...1
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