On his first visit to the Czech Republic Pope Benedict has urged Czechs to rediscover their Christian roots trampled on by 40 years of totalitarian rule.
The object of his three-day visit is to support the Czech Catholic Church in a country that has one of the lowest proportions of religious practitioners in the world. Fewer than 3 million of the countries ten 10.5 million population claim to be Catholic and few practice. Pope Benedict had meetings with public figures including the former anti-Communist dissident and later national president Vaclav Havel. The head of the Catholic Church urged more Christian involvement in public life in the former communist country. Current Czech President Vaclav Klaus called the Pope one of the foremost intellectuals in the world. During the welcoming ceremony the Czech Philharmonic orchestra performed Te Deum in Prague Castle’s Spanish Hall.