Pilsen Bishop Tomáš Holub visited the Faculty of Education of the UWB with an engaging lecture

Guests Lecture Students

The students also praised the lecture, take a look at their evaluations.

On April 9, 2024, Roman Catholic Bishop of the Plzeň Diocese, Mons. ThLic. Tomáš Holub, Th.D., visited the historical premises of the auditorium of the Faculty of Education of the University of West Bohemia in Plzeň on Veleslavínova Street. He accepted the invitation of assistant professor Martin Slepička from the Department of History and delivered an intriguing theological lecture with significant historical implications for enthusiastic history and teaching of history students in Plzeň. The lecture, titled "Holy War Does Not Exist (Although Many Claimed Otherwise)," had been the focus of his professional activities for some time at Charles University in Prague.

During the lecture, Bishop Holub addressed particularly relevant questions in today's context regarding Christian moral theology related to the ethics and permissibility of wars throughout history from early Christian times to the high Middle Ages. He elucidated these issues using the teachings of prominent late antique and medieval theologians and philosophers, notably St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Towards the end of his presentation, he engaged in a lively discussion and warmly responded to numerous questions from students and academic staff, not only related to the lecture's topic but also to Bishop Holub's remarkable personal life, which, apart from his episcopal role and academic achievements, has been distinguished by his pioneering service as a military chaplain in the Czech Army.

Martin Slepička, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Education

  • What was the response of the students to the lecture?
    I believe it was overwhelmingly positive. Based on the feedback from several enthusiastic students of our pedagogical faculty that has reached me so far, it is evident that Bishop Tomáš Holub's lecture on Christian moral dilemmas associated with the ideas of late antique and medieval theologians regarding just defense or even holy war has captured the attention of the vast majority of students, not only due to its erudition but also due to the bishop's charismatic personality, which he graciously shared with the students and did not hesitate to address personal questions from his rich past.
  • What idea do you take away from the lecture, what intrigued you the most?
    Apart from the valuable illumination of the historical development of the views of Christian elites on the permissibility of armed conflict against enemies, which has often undergone a complete reversal throughout history, it is primarily the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has not revisited the doctrine of the ancient church teacher St. Augustine justifying the right to forcefully spread the Christian faith by the sword, which led to numerous massacres of civilian populations in the early Middle Ages. Another undeniable contribution was the elucidation of the concept of a just war by the foremost Dominican church teacher St. Thomas Aquinas, who laid the foundation for the right to just defense against an aggressor.

Adam Novák, 2nd year, History - German Language student, Faculty of Education

  • What impact did Bishop Tomáš Holub's lecture have on you?
    I am very pleased to have been able to attend this interesting lecture. Bishop Holub succinctly and energetically presented how ancient philosophers, especially medieval church scholars, perceived peace and war. It was interesting to hear the justifications given for these two periodic phases of human history. The lecture also drew parallels to contemporary global events at certain points, highlighting the relevance of the topic.

  • What idea do you take away from the lecture, what intrigued you the most?
    I particularly liked how Bishop Holub highlighted historical moments when the presented ideas and ideals of specific scholars no longer corresponded to contemporary human conduct. We had the opportunity to consider these teachings in their historical context, which we as history students greatly appreciated. The presentation of contentious milestones perfectly illustrated the variability of thinking about peace and war. Specifically, I found St. Thomas Aquinas' conception of war very interesting. As Bishop Holub mentioned, this medieval philosopher established certain conditions under which war can be considered just. However, let's not forget that Aquinas operates on the principle of love, the fulfillment of which ensures the protection of others.

Martina Černá, 1st year, Czech Language - History student, Faculty of Education

  • What impact did Bishop Tomáš Holub's lecture have on you?
    I was particularly intrigued by the information regarding the work of a military chaplain. He is there for all soldiers regardless of their religion. He sees them as individuals, not as psychologists. He doesn't judge them and takes care of their mental health, aiming to prevent them from becoming "inhuman" beings. Thanks to the lecture, many of us have surely better grasped or recalled concepts that should be known to history enthusiasts or students, such as Pax Romana during the Roman Empire era.

  • What idea do you take away from the lecture, what intrigued you the most?
    I was pleasantly surprised by the overall course of the lecture. Regarding my expectations, I assumed that the overall course would be based on religious themes - specifically Christianity - but that wasn't entirely the case. For instance, I didn't expect Bishop Holub to also address Plato's perspective (and that of other ancient or medieval philosophers, such as Thomas Aquinas) on war. I highly appreciate that Bishop Holub supplemented his exposition with information from his own experiences, as he was also a military chaplain. I liked that the lecture delved not only into what is commonly discussed in history classes but also reached into interdisciplinary relationships, such as philosophy and theology.


Václav Beneš, Biskupství plzeňské

Václav Beneš, Biskupství plzeňské

Faculty of Education

Martin Slepička

15. 04. 2024