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Pastorisation and Evangelisation Plan of the Catholic Church in Slovakia for 2001-2006 Pastorisation and Evangelisation Plan of the Catholic Church in Slovakia for 2001-2006

This is an audacious five-year plan by the Slovak bishops for Catholicising Slovakia. Among the recommendations is saturation by Church media (1.6.3j), and indeed from 23 January 2007 the bandwidth of the BBC World Service was turned over to the Catholic station, Rádio Lumen.

 The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 848, 1993 claims that “the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelise all men.” This 36-page plan was published by the Slovak Conference of Bishops on 10 May 2001 as a blueprint for entrenching Catholicism in Slovak society.  

Here evangelisation means “spreading the Gospel” in the widest sense, whether by  priests or laymen. By contrast, the term pastorisation (from the Latin word for “shepherd”) is limited to the special kinds of evangelisation carried out by priests. The note at the end of part 6 depicts evangelisation as a very broad activity, including missionising in foreign lands, teaching catechism to children, making pastoral visits and performing the mass. 

The aims of this five-year missionary plan for Slovakia are broader still. Its introduction says that “by trying to set in motion a new evangelisation, we hope that, through its faith, Slovakia can play an important role in a secularised Europe”.

In 2007 the bishops issued another PEP for 2007-2013 which, at 80 pages, is twice as long, and is written in a style that is even more sacerdotal. Translated below is the briefer, franker, earlier version of this religious saturation plan.  


PEP: A five-year plan for theocracy?

This short overview of the Vatican plan for Slovakia is available in English for the first time. Prof. Rehák's article  skillfully penetrates the sacerdotal language of the bishops' five-year plan to convert Slovakia to point out what it means and how it could affect people's lives.

PEP: Contents, Abbreviations, Forward and Introduction

John Paul II stated that "our programme for the Third Millenium" was "to reach people, mould communities, and have a deep and incisive influence [...] in society and culture". (Nuovo millenio ineunte, § 29) To carry this out in Slovakia the bishops assembled more than fifty professionals, and an eight-man editorial board to draw up what critics have called a " five-year plan for a theocracy".

PEP: Part 1 – Church and society in Slovakia

Wide-ranging plans will bring schools, the media and even science under the influence of the Church. "Forming" the society includes "Working out a spiritual profile of a teacher at a Catholic school and his or her continuous further Christian education."  (1.5.3.m) ...Some Slovaks wonder if they have merely traded ideological oversight by the Communist Central Committee for supervision by the Conference of Bishops. 

PEP: Part 2 – The people of God

This section urges all Church members to evangelise. Priests are not to confine themselves to liturgy, religious orders are not to limit themselves to prayer, and the laity are not to consider religion either a priestly or "a private affair" but are to join lay groups, both open and secret. Those with "political and economic" gifts are to use them for the Church.

PEP: Part 3 – The parish

Chaplains are to pursue conversion ("kerygmatic heralding") in universities, the army and hospitals. (3.2.1.D) Faith-based (but state-funded) social services ("the deaconry") are to target both old and new forms of "poverty" (vulnerability?) such as "despair, desolation in old age and in illness, and dependency in people who are materially well-to-do." (3.5.1.C)

PEP: Part 4 – The family and education

The steep drop in abortions is dismissed as due to contraceptives which the Church claims have "an abortive action". (4.1.1 D) The bishops apparently prefer "marital purity"....(4.1.3.h) Church activists ("animators") are to lead children's and youth groups, whilst chaplains are to evangelise university students. No mention here of seeking bequests, only the curious instruction "to make records about all elderly and ailing in the parish regardless of their religious conviction" ... (4.5.3.f)

PEP: Part 5 – Ecumenism and dialogue

To the Church ecumenicism is a "dialogue to perform evangelisation" (5.1.2) intended "to introduce into the [interfaith] meetings a missionary element." (5.4.2) Only Church officials are to attend commemorations of Msgr. President Tiso's deportation of Jews to the death camps, but not "representatives of the laity" (who are supposed to venerate this priest who led the Nazi puppet state) (5.3.1 F) In a note the translator explains why the statstics on religion may bear little relationship to people's actual beliefs.

PEP: Part 6 – Special groups and activities and explanatory endnote

Romany culture is to be studied for use in evangelisation. (6.2.3 b) Both soldiers and their families are to be evangelised. So, too, are the deaf, blind and mentally retarded. Addicts are presently evangelised by way of Alcoholic Anonymous, but the aim is to have priests installed in treatment centres, as chaplains are at prisons. Slovaks living abroad are to be evangelised by priests making the "strategic" (6.8.3.d) offer of help in dealing with officialdom.

Technical note by the translator

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