"He arrived in Prague in 1965. From what I heard from my father, they were apparently speculating at the party sessions. 'Let’s take this old man in. He is already 66, he’ll die soon, and after that we can replace him with our man and the Vatican City problems will be gone. They just keep yelling that there’s no bishop in Prague.' If someone would have told them that one day this old man act in a revolution and perform masses at the Ta Deum Cathedral, or that President Václav Havel, with his wife Olga, would be down on their knees in front of him at the St. Vitus Cathedral on December 25th, 1989, they wouldn’t believe it for sure."
"When I signed the cooperation with the State secret police (StB) documents... I don’t know if you've ever seen what it looked like, but everything has been written so innocently - 'I hereby declare that I will always defend the interest of this country,' etc., I would probably be able to sign it again today. Although I thought to myself while signing it, 'Oh boy, this will put you in huge trouble one day.' And it has indeed. You simply sign it, just like that ..."
"Well, I was really scared, because I didn’t have any idea of what could happen. For me it was absolutely unacceptable to be without the political agreement. I don’t know what I would have been done. Being a priest, they wouldn’t allow me to teach at any school. Only after the Velvet revolution was I able to teach at a high school, and I really liked being there. I taught philosophy and Latin and Greek languages, and I really enjoyed that. But without that agreement I wouldn’t be allowed to do anything besides some manual work. And back then, I used to look quite different than I do now. I was weak and slim. Of course, some good people might have taken care of me, but you can never be sure or take it for granted if they do. You are just afraid, that’s it.
"I have been confirmed in September of 1965 and it was his first event in Prague. A lot of people came to their first confirmation there, because it was forbidden for ages in the past. Then I have heard from his priest: ´ So this is the bishop-traitor. ´ Because they took the former Bishop Beran in 1965 to Rome, people saw this one as a communist Bolshevik bishop. It was like that at the beginning though. When Mr. Václav Malý came to see him in 1977, he threw him out. He kicked him out and yelled at him that he is a dreamer. Although Václav was the whole time without an agreement, he wouldn’t do anything for him. For anyone, in fact...This bishop used to have a couple of people whom he listened to, but then if someone raised his voice against him, he would change his opinion."
"I have told everything to Jesuits. I even told them about the intention to leave to Italy, to Roma. At that moment they got shocked and told me:´You better forget about that, this would be a suicide. If they would find out about it, they wouldn’t have mercy with you. And they knew what they were talking about. The StB agents who called me up later told me: We don’t care that much about you not going to Italy, what we don’t like is that you have discussed it with the Jesuits. I still don’t know if they were tapping us, or if it was a trick if someone could have told them something. I talked to about ten people, but only Jesuits knew about the signature."
"At first, it appeared in the newspaper. Back then there were not any listings yet. It was a very unique night. You are trying to tell the people something for years, they are listening to you, and they even admire you and trust you. I have really thought about everything, I even considered ending my life. And I was alone. But I have risen and said a prayer. Then on Sunday I talked about it during all messes. I also added that if I have ever hurt someone, please let me know. (Because I had no idea of what I might have said during the years and what the StB agents might have used the information for.) Nobody let me know."
"My dad was a member of the communist party management and my mom was a former nun. She came to Prague during the 50´s when the nunneries had been closed. In Prague, she met and married my father, and then I was born. My father left us when I was five years old. For this reason, people were talking about us from the very beginning. One of the reasons that the StB agents were so interested in me was that when my father found out I wanted to become a priest he had nearly died of a heart attack. Since then, they had started to watch me closely. Our first meetings went as follows: 'You mustn’t become a priest, as you are not to dishonor your father like that.' 'So what, he has dishonored me, too.' We couldn’t come to an agreement."
"When my mom died, and we knew she is dying and that I was alone with her, he really helped me a lot. He arranged her funeral and I don’t know what else. After this I heard some bed talks that I might even be his son. Some StB agents kept asking me, if he could possibly have some relationship with my mom. It was nasty, but that how they were."
"I was only very young chaplain, when I was in Plzeň town. I didn’t have any chance to betray anyone. Mr. Vašek Malý has been dismissed just as I started to work there. They asked me:´We know, you spent some time in this and this apartment with those and those people. What did you talk about there? What did you do there? ´ I replied: ´We have discussed the St. Mark’s Gospel.´ ´And what else?´ they asked. ´We were signing songs´ I said. ´And did anyone said anything against the country?´ I told them: ´Well from your point of view, not professing your kind of ideas is seditious.´ When I came to Prague; they forced me to meet the Chaplain’s family. I have interrupted contacts between me and Halík and Malý on purpose about a year before my arrival in Prague. Not that they would never visited me, but I didn’t go to places I have been invited to. I was thinking that I have nothing to say there."
"So they would for an example ask me: ´Are you seeing this Halík from Plzeň town? ´ - ´Yes, I am.´ - ´And what are you two doing there? ´ - ´What do you think? We are talking.´ - ´And you have to travel from Plzeň to Prague? And are you only talking? He is also single, isn’t he? ´ They were staring at me making funny faces like if we are not gays by any chance. ´We are talking, so what? ´ - ´And isn’t there something else to it? ´ - ´What do you mean? I don’t understand. They intended to find out whether or not I serve the masses there. ´Well, once I have performed a mass there, because his mom is sick and can’t go to the church.´ - ´But you know, you shouldn’t do that, do you? ´ - ´I do, now I told you I did it so what are you going to do? ´ - ´Well, nothing if it was only once like you’re saying...´ and they never found out that he was the preacher."
"My first boss, Mr. Archdeacon, named Kozlík, (let him rest in peace), told us on our first day at work, 'Look, boys, I have spent eight years in jail. I’m in Pacem in Terris, because I’ve had quite enough of being in jail. Be careful what you say in front of me, and what you think I shouldn’t hear, because then I have to explain this over here and over there.' Everything was crystal clear from this very second. He was a great priest; he was kind, helpful, well educated. He easily faced all our activities; nobody would dare to get in a row with him. Because he entered the Pacem in Terris, he was very sorry for doing some sedition. He was a great person, a wonderful boss, and Mr. Aleš Opatrný, who wasn’t as sensitive as I was, would surely confirm his values too. Besides, being a 24-year-old boy I wouldn't dare to judge the honorable archdeacon Kozlik."
"They called me up once. I was given a penalty for some traffic violation. I was backing up in a one way street. I paid 40 crowns. I was very mad at them. And being so upset I yelled at someone on the phone: ´I’m going to immigrate to Albania, I won’t stay here another minute. About two days after this our secretary called me up and said: ´I heard that you have been talking to someone about...´ and then the StB officers came. That was really something: ´What the hell, do you mean immigrating to Albania? That’s our fellow country...´ I replied: ´I just said that, I didn’t really mean it.´ and they said: ´We have no doubt you meant it, because you clearly said, you have decided to immigrate.´ How on earth could I possibly do that? But they didn’t have to thing; they just needed to do their job. It is ridiculous to talk about today anyway."
"You have to see the difference between interviews with a person who wasn’t being involved anywhere, who didn’t do anything wrong and whose father was even a member of the communist party management. Or an interview with Václav Malý who signed the Charter, who fought against the communist regime, who got beaten up bed. That’s what he told us afterwards. The same story happened with Mr. Radim Palouš. These things happened to people who obviously and clearly fought against the communist regime. This wasn’t my case. But it couldn’t have been christenings or teaching religions. Then it really was a difference in their behavior."
"I was friends with Aleš Opatrný or Vladislav Kellnar and Michal Slavík - we are still friends these days. Or with Tomas Halík who helped me so much. I used to come to him to confess for over four years and the StB agents never found out that he was a confirmed priest...Together we performed the masses in his library while his mom was in the other bedroom."
I have really thought about everything, I even considered ending my life
Father Alois Kánský was born on October 20th, 1954. His mother was a nun, but was forced to leave the nunnery in 1950. His father was a distinguished communist officer who left the family very shortly after communist takeover. Alois Kánský graduated on the Theology faculty, despite his father‘s disapproval and under the constant STB (the former communist State Secret Police) supervision. Alois Kánský was ordained by Cardinal Tomášek in 1978. However, he was forced to sign the STB cooperation documents. He functioned in several parishes, such as in Plzeň town, Prague (St. Margaret in Břevnov, St. Gothard in Bubeneč), Roztoky town, Unětice village, Libčice vilage, Suchdol (part of Prague), and lastly in St. Antonius in Prague. He performed mass at the funeral of the famous Czech poet, Jaroslav Seifert in 1986, where many important and famous people from the cultural world, known by their aversion against the communist regime, appeared. In 1991, he made a public confession and apology to everyone he might have hurt by previously signing the StB cooperation documents. He died unexpectedly on October 31st, 2008 in Prague.