Activist With a Crown of Thorns Disrupts the Archbishop’s Mass

Activist Aneta Petani disrupted the Mass on Tuesday, which Cardinal Dominik Duka was serving in St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle. Petani was only wearing a bra, black trousers, and a crown of thorns on her head. She was protesting against recent statements by Catholic priest Petr Pit’ha about homosexuals and women. The Duke stood up for Pit’ha, which Petani also criticised. 

Petani knelt in front of the altar during the Mass. On her body was written “Why did you put a crown of thorns on them?” and the statement “Love of Truth”. A security guard escorted her out of the back entrance of the cathedral. The Mass was being held for the 40th anniversary of the election of John Paul II as Pope. 

Petani said that she was peaceful throughout the protest. She was completely silent during the mass and did not cry out. 

“I was simply waiting for a reaction. My protest was always supposed to be peaceful and silent, even though the representatives of the Catholic Church would consider it controversial. But it was never aggressive or something that would disturb the Mass. I wanted to express my deep disagreement with the Czech Catholic Church’s attitude towards the Istanbul Convention, “said Petani.

The Mass was heavily guarded as there were a number of foreign guests, including Polish ambassador in the Czech Republic and newly appointed Foreign Minister Tomáš Petricek.

In an earlier sermon, Pit’ha had stood up against the adoption of the Istanbul Convention. The convention was established primarily to prevent violence against women, and also contains notes on gender definition. But according to Pit’ha, the adoption of such a convention would lead to “completely perverted laws against the traditional family” in the Czech Republic. Pit’ha, after stating that men and women are not the same, went on to give a list of fictitious threats to traditional family life if the convention were to be adopted, such as homosexuals being “declared a superior class”, families being torn apart, and children taken away from their fathers for minor disagreements. 

Of course, there is nothing like this mentioned in the body of the document. 

Pit’ha supported Duka as president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference (CBK). “We would like to note that this does not change the official opinion of the CBK regarding the Istanbul Convention,” said the Cardinal. According to the bishops, the convention will just put men and women against each other. According to representatives of seven Christian churches, the document is not needed in the Czech Republic.

Author: Holly Webb

Photo: Michal Krumphanzl

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