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Church and state in Slovakia Church and state in Slovakia

Due to its past, Slovakia is particularly vulnerable to Vatican influence. For the first time in their long history the Slovaks got their own country during WWII. This was the First Slovak Republic under its president, the Catholic priest, Father Jozef Tiso. One of the regime's propaganda posters says it all: “Crusaders of the new Europe against Jewish-Bolshevik rabies”.

Yes, this was issued by the government led by the priest whom some are now hoping to get canonised.

Father Hlinka’s secret mission (1919)

It was a moonlight flit to try to redraw the map of Europe along religious lines. The self-appointed delegates sneaked out of their villages in Eastern Europe by night and wandered through half of Europe, often by foot, sometimes even retracing their steps to avoid detection. The papal nuncio advised them to wait until later, but they pressed on. For many years this expedition looked like a lost cause, yet more than 70 years later the Catholic Church finally managed to permanently separate the Slovaks from the influence of the more secular Czechs.

Why Slovakia?

This small mountainous country is now independent and free. However, is rightwing Slovak nationalism being encouraged by the Church for its own ends? It has implemented a five-year plan to “evangelise” the whole country and is still hoping to push through the unprecedented “conscience concordat”. This is not what many Slovaks had hoped for when they got free of the Communist dictatorship.

A Slovak teacher speaks out on religious education

The Concordat on Catholic Education divides the children into Catholics and non-Catholics. What does this mean in practice? An experienced teacher, Paed. Dr. Anna Bukovinová, says that children who opt for Catholic religious instruction are regarded as bound for Heaven, and the others as heading straight for Hell. She objects to "forcible Catholisation".

New Slovak law rehabilitates wartime regime

Prof. Alexander Rehák calls attention to a law which redates "anti-Communist resistance" as starting in the Fascist period. This could allow Fascists to be defined as democrats and aid present attempts to set the Nazi collaborator, Monsignor President Tiso, executed as a war criminal, on the road to sainthood* (See also the campaign poster at the end).

Timely eviction of the Slovak National Memory Institute (2007)

The Slovak archive that could have shed light on Vatican collaboration with both the wartime Fascists and the postwar Communists was evicted, suffered funding cuts and had files that were safely stored in Prague suddenly repatriated. This happened in early 2007 — right after Archbishop Wielgus in neighbouring Poland was forced to resign when records showed he'd been a Communist spy — and just before it was announced that records in Prague also implicated the Slovak Archbishop Ján Sokol.

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