Martin C. Putna

Martin C. Putna (1968) j is a Czech literary historian, university teacher, publicist and essayist. He works at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague.

St Wenceslas, Drive Out the Fascists!

It is a peculiar national holiday: even though the parliament had to work very hard to institute it, most people see it just as an opportunity to turn on the lawnmowers at their weekend cottages; and yet, over the past few years, Václav Klaus has been as happy to use it as a pretext for nationalistic sermonizing as he is to exploit rallies by DOST [an ultra-rightwing political initiative -tr.] or to have the skull of the saint, whose worship had until recently been limited to the most nostalgic admirers of pre-modern Catholic culture, ceremonially driven to Stará Boleslav [where […]

Hungarian Christmas Carol Therapy

It has been bothering me for years now that talk of Christmas – in the media but sadly, also in the church – has become completely devoid of meaning.  This year I have found an antidote: Hungarian Christmas carols I have brought back from Budapest. To be precise:  Christmas carols from baroque Hungary. To be even more precise: Christmas carols from baroque Hungarian Transylvania. In terms of music they are your typical baroque Christmas carols, half traditional folk music, idyllic, pastoral, accompanied by bells, gentle and moving.  In terms of lyrics – well, they are Hungarian Christmas carols. The lyrics […]

Will this embarrassment be a lesson for the Pope?

In covering the story of the Holocaust-denying bishop most of the media reports have focused – as usual – on a single controversial detail, missing the heart of the matter. They speculated whether Bishop Richard Williamson really was a holocaust denier, whether the Pope knew that Williamson was holocaust denier, and so on and so forth.  Hardly anyone has asked what the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, which Williamson and other bishops belong to and which has now been restored to the Roman Catholic Church, actually stands for, what had led to its excommunication in the first place, and why […]