A parliamentarian from the Czech Republic's Social Democrat party has caused a storm by accusing the Catholic Church of collaborating with the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Speaking in the country's lower house of parliament Friday, Igor Jakubcik said the Church had been one of the biggest partners of the Third Reich, and accused it of agreeing to the expulsion and massacre of Jews as part of the Nazis' "Final Solution."
Jakubick further accused the Catholic Church of helping Nazi war criminals escape to South America.
Other parliamentarians attacked the comments, which were made during a debate on an amendment to restitution laws which would grant more time to examine the Church 's demands for the return of property seized during the Communist era, according to Radio Praha.
Responding to criticism from the Christian Democrat and Civic Democrat parties over his "unwise" comments, Jakubcik clarified that his comments were not directed at the "current" church, and added that he regretted the way it was treated under Communist rule after the Communism takeover in 1948.
His remarks, he clarified, were made regarding "specific incidents" during the Holocaust, which stood out as "a black mark on the Czech Republic."