Canonization proceedings

Servants of God

Václav Drbola and Jan Bula were priests illegally sentenced to death in 1951 in a trial related to the “Babice trial”. Subsequently, they were both executed. In the times of communist totality it was naturally not possible to commence their canonization proceedings. However, even before the era started, these two executed priests had been considered martyrs of faithby natural persons. After the fall of the communist totality, they were both rehabilitated by the civil judicial authorities.

Initiative for the commencement of the beatification proceedings of Jan Bula came directly from Brno diocese. Corresponding preparatory steps leading to the initiation of the inquiry were accomplished in Brno diocese. The Bohemian and Moravian bishops expressed unanimously their consent with the commencement of the beatification proceedings of the priest-martyr Jan Bula at the 52nd plenary session on 8th October 2003.Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued nihil obstat on the 24th January 2004 by which it expressed that there are no objections from the Holy See. Thus, the proceedings could commence. The first session (sessio) took place on 25th March 2004 at the Brno bishopric residence in the presence of the diocese bishop, the bishop’s delegate, the promoter of justice, the postulator and notaries.

Václav Drbola’s beatification proceedings were commenced by the Brno diocese only later, when the documents of a personal character related to Václav Drbola were discovered. These documents stimulated the initiation of the inquiry,which proved the interconnection of circumstances of death of both the priests, evaluated the authentic extension of the legend of martyrdom of Václav Drbola as well as the exemplary character of his priesthood. Consequently, the Czech Episcopal Conference in its plenary session in October 2010 expressed its consent with the commencement of Drbola’s beatification proceedings.Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome issued nihil obstat on 14th April 2011 and it announced that they have no objections to the V. Drbola’s proceedings being attached to the beatification proceedings of Jan Bula. The bishop of the Brno diocese Vojtěch Cikrle released a decree on 2nd September 2011 which connected both the cases to one canonization proceedings of the servants of God Václav Drbola and Jan Bula.

Until now sources documenting the lives of both priests from archives of various institutions have been gradually examined. Concurrently, dozens of interrogations of witnesses and eyewitnesses took place. It is obvious that the study of life and circumstances of death of people executed in the 50s of 20th century is difficult because we are often forced to work with sources which contain many false facts, half-truths and even absolute lies. Thus, it is necessary to use a critical approach in its highest possible extent.

The directive Sanctorum Mater state that the legend about signs is a persuasion spread among the faithful about the acts of grace and favour received from God at the intercession of a servant of God. In common speech these kinds of signs are labelled as miracles.Amiracle is not necessary for beatificationof servants of God who died a martyr’s death. It is necessary only if we speak about a beatification on the basis of heroic virtues. However, a miracle is necessary for the canonization of martyrs because it is a God’s testimony of the holiness of a servant of God on whose intercession a miracle was performed. It is thus appropriate that the faithful ask God in their prayers to perform a miracle at the intercession of his servants Václav Drbola and Jan Bula. If these prayers are exceptionally answered, thanks to the intercessions of either Václav Drbola or Jan Bula, the circumstances will be investigated according to a fixed procedure. If it concerns a healing or other exceptional occasion of a seeming miracle, everything is thoroughly examined by experts. Only afterwards, it is possible to decide if we can talk about a miracle or not.