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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. 



 Pastorisation and Evangelisation Plan
 of the Catholic Church in Slovakia,

Pastoračný a evanjelizačný plán Katolíckej cirkvi na Slovensku (2001-2006)

By the Slovak Bishops Conference, 10 May 2001.
Translation and notes by Prof. em. Alexander Rehák 

Part one
1. Church and society in Slovakia

1.1. The situation

A)  Worldwide, the relation between the state and the Church fluctuates greatly In the course of the last 2000 years it has assumed widely differing forms, from the imperial papacy to the Papal State. Since Slovakia is a young democratic state, the forms of co-operations are also marked by new forms as well as by traditions connecting us with the European culture.

B)  State and Church differ in their origin, aims and vocations. The state is a natural institution; the Church belongs to supernatural order. The aim of the state is development of the terrestrial common weal; the aim of the Church is the salvation of the human being. The State’s constitution and form is subject to historical changes. But the Church has received its historical configuration from Christ Himself. In distinction to states and political forms, the Church is not only an organisation, but it is at the same time a community of believers, who are represented on a certain territory by a bishop.

C)  The document of the Second Vatican Council Gaudium et Spes is an invitation to dialogue, openness to the world, and “healthy co-operation” between the State and the Church, because they are on their own fields of action independent and self-governing. At the same time, although the Church uses mundane means, it doesn’t put its hopes into the privileges granted by the civil establishment.

D)  The Church and the state are in their own domains independent and are not mutually subordinate: neither the Church to the state, nor the state to the Church. But they are mutually linked, through services to the same human beings.

E)  The Slovak Republic guarantees religious freedom by its supreme law – the Constitution, but also by its Constitutional Act No. 23/1991 Zb. by which the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights was adopted as well as by the act 308/1991 Zb. about the freedom of religious faith and about the status of churches and religious societies.


1.1.2. The aims

The state and the Church should have a common aim: the wellbeing of man. The activity of the state is in the material field and the activity of the Church is in the spiritual field. Co-ordination and co-operation are inevitable. It takes place through concrete people, members of both of these communities, which mutually overlap. In Slovakia the aim of this co-operation between the state and the Church is the moral and spiritual revival of the nation, the family, charitable activity, education and upbringing, as well as the inclusion of Christian principles of dialogue, tolerance and solidarity in all spheres of social and public life.


1.1.3 Recommendations

a)  To keep developing co-operation between Church and state in the spirit of independence, freedom, and autonomous regulation of their own affairs;

b)  To implement the [Basic] Treaty [the 2000 concordat] between the Holy See and the Slovak Republic in terms of practical policy and to carry out the proposed additions;

c)  To strive to always define the mutual relations through the law. Only through a guaranteed freedom of religion and through the world-view neutrality of the state is co-ordination and co-operation possible;

d)  To proceed, at the level of the Bishops Conference of Slovakia, in a uniform way in dealings with the state, concerning specific contracts and legal relationships;

e)  To let the Catholic Church propose revisions for drafts of legal norms to be passed;

f)  To enter into a dialogue and make proposals to invite public discussions (and) to negotiate with the government;

g)  To take position on the human rights of the citizens, to take their side, to warn the state’s representatives about their possible errors, and to admonish them for immoral actions;

h)  To encourage the believers to distinguish between how they act as Christians on their own behalf and what they do in common with their shepherds on behalf of the Church;

i)  To strive for subsidies from the State resources for the Church’s external activities in the formation of the society;

j)  The Church in Slovakia is aware of what she is obligated to render to the modern world. Something, which surpasses all other values: the mercy and the life of the resurrected Christ, who offers hope and meaning for our lives.


1.2. The social situation of believers

1.2.1. The situation

A)  The way of the Church concerns the man in his whole subsistence. Besides the care of the spiritual situation the good Church never forgets the social and economic status of the man. These two facts are mutually linked.

B)  The social situation of believers is average for the whole Slovakian society. One can find among the believers people of the entire spectrum, from the poorest to the richest. In the worst situation are people of retirement age with low income, those with long-term illnesses, families with many children and the unemployed. The diocesan charities take care of some of these groups, but they are not capable of fully covering all the basic needs of everyone. There is an absence of parish charities, even in major villages.

C)  A positive sign is a comparatively steady readiness of believers, regardless of their social situation, to support the bonum commune [common good], either financially, in the form of financial contributions, or through personal involvement, especially by volunteering to help with Church undertakings.

D)  A negative sign is a low awareness of common responsibility for public affairs and the distinction between the economic-political sphere and the sphere of religion and moral principles. This makes believers unwilling to participate in the management of public affairs and thus to solve the roots of the problems, instead of their consequences. People have ceased to trust the politicians. For many this is due to personal disorientation, for others it is caused by the fragmented political scene. Many people refuse to cast their votes at elections. Political apathy has resulted from continually rising prices, unjust privatisation, etc

E)  A negative phenomenon today is unemployment, working illegally as well as refusal to accept offers of work, or treating work as a necessary evil.

F)  Social relations include the employers and entrepreneurs, as well as the employees. Relations between these groups are often at variance with human dignity.

G)  A negative fact is also the insufficient engagement of Christians in matters involving the social teaching of the Church. There is an absence of opportunities to form believers through special appeals to them, meetings and lectures within a parish framework – it looks as though the clergy has avoided all these problems. One of the reasons is evidently the insufficiently wide orientation of the majority of the priests in terms of the social teaching of the Church, which only began to be taught in Slovak theological faculties ten years ago. This means that only the latest generation of priests has received the basics in this field. Silence in speaking out about social questions and the clergy’s high standard of living sharply divides the clergy from the believers. The believers consider the clergy as the powerful and wealthy of this world, who have very little concern for the social situation of the common people.


1.2.2 The aims

The prime aim of the pastorisation and evangelisation activities of the Church in Slovakia in the field of social affairs is to permanently form the believers in the field of social teaching as well as to increase the care of vulnerable believers through parish charities.


1.2.3. Recommendations

a)  To monitor the current political and social situation through our own Church-run research institutions;

b)  To consistently present the social teaching of the Church to believers through catecheses, homilies, lectures, meetings, etc;

c)  To strive for a steady formation of politicians, entrepreneurs, trade union members, at least those who have a Christian character or opinion (e.g., round tables, seminars, panel discussions);

d)  To react in the media to the political and economic events in Slovakia, namely to comment on the particular positions of the government, the parliament, the politics, or the economic events not only on behalf of the Church, but also in a private capacity;

e)  To publish moral and ethical commentaries on some controversial questions;

f)  To co-operate with the academic community - to enter even the state’s Universities - and the varied university department and faculties, with reports for the students on the social teaching of Church. In nearly every faculty there are chairs of marketing and management;

g)  To enhance the social awareness of the priests, either in the form of “recollections” [rekolekcia: group meetings for deliberations about religious issues which are generally held monthly for priests] or of special seminars about concrete topics in the field of the social teaching of Church;

h)  To select priests for a special pastorisation, similar to what is done in the army;

i)  To create parish or deanship charities on a voluntary basis to provide services within a parish framework;

j)  To create in the deanships “social councils”, which would react, in the spirit of the social teaching of Church, to the events in the region and in the region covered by the parish;

k)  To remind the believing tradesmen and entrepreneurs of their moral duty to pay proper taxes.


1.3. Economic and material funding for the Church

1.3.1. The situation

A)  The Church concerns itself with material and economic funding, in order to be able to implement appropriate measures: to bring the Gospel to people, to disseminate the faith, to show love and to offer help. In Slovakia the financial condition of the Church is strongly influenced by the state and its laws, which have often been of a discriminatory nature.

B)  In 1949 an act was passed, which provides, financially and economically, for the churches and the religious societies pursuant to act No 16./1990 Zb. and act No 522/1992 Zb.

C)  On the basis of these laws The National Council of the Slovak Republic approves in its act on the budget the finances for the churches and the religious societies each year. The administrator of these financial means is the Culture Ministry of the Slovak Republic - the Division for Churches, which distributes them according the needs of particular churches and religious communities for their use. This body undertakes to safeguard above all the full coverage of salaries of clergy in accordance with the governmental enactment No 578/1990 Zb. as amended by the governmental enactment No 187/ 1997 Z.z.

D)  The churches receive the financial means for the maintenance of their centres every month from the Culture Ministry within the limits agreed upon. A deficiency of this funding directly from the state budget pursuant to act No 218/1949 Zb is that it doesn’t reflect the changes in the church-state relationship which took place after 1949 and this creates the impression, that the state wants to undercut the economic basis of the churches and, by granting salaries to the clergy, to bind them directly to the state authority.

E)  In the years of 1991-1993 the state granted subsidies from the budget for building and maintenance of sacral objects, which were in the possession of churches and monastic orders, as well as for buying electronic detection equipment for safety of the movable sacral monuments. The maximum amount of subsidy was 70 % of expenses; the churches themselves covered the rest. In the following years the churches were hardly granted any more financial subsidies. [1]

F)  For the repairs of valuable sacral objects, which comprise a significant part of the national cultural heritage, the state funding for culture – Pro Slovakia – makes occasional contributions.

G)  The state underwrites the activities of ecclesiastic schools via the Education Ministry as well as the salaries of teachers of religion in state schools, i.e. of the catechists.

H)  One can positively comment on the fact, that the state covers the expenses of geodesic measuring of the immovable possessions, which are to be returned to Churches, pursuant to § 10 act No 282/1993 Z.z. As opposed to the income taxes of all other legal personalities, incomes from Church activities and regular contributions of Church and religious communities’ members are exempted. Tax-deducible by individuals are donations given for humanitarian, charity, religious purposes to churches and religious communities recognized by state, to the extent specified by state. Exempt from taxes on real estate are buildings and those parts of them which are used exclusively for religious ceremonies, provided they make one functional unit with a building serving as an office for persons entrusted with the management of registered churches and religious communities. Cemeteries are also exempt from these taxes. Exempt from inheritance and gift taxes are those donated for the development of registered churches and religious communities.

I)  Under the conditions stated by the public notice No 17/1994 Z.Z. and further amendments, objects and donations for Church and religious communities are exempt from custom duties. Actions connected with the restitution of properties are exempt from administrative and judicial fees.
J)  A positive event regarding the returned Church possessions was that believers led by priests readily volunteered to repair the churches, parsonages, various Church buildings, and schools. The dioceses succeeded in reinstating the [other] activities of the priestly seminaries, and repairing or building their premises anew. Many new ecclesiastic primary and secondary schools were opened, and in 2000, a Catholic University. The free operation of the monastic orders and many lay movements were reintroduced. All that was possible thanks to generous benefactors from Slovakia and from abroad.

K)  The negative fact was that the objects returned to the Church were in a very bad condition, ill maintained, or even purposely wrecked by those returning them. Many Church properties were not returned. First of all the Church had to concentrate all its resources on repairs, to begin operating and to gain the necessary backing. Even after ten years much work remains. The situation is difficult in fields where the continuity of work was completely severed. One can assess negatively that many things have been missed, often for lack of experience. The economic life of the parishes and other ecclesiastic communities becomes ever more demanding, with increasing costs and with the continually deteriorating economic situation of ordinary people, who make up the majority of churchgoers.
L)  One has to evaluate as negative the fact that the income from rental is subject to taxation. Furthermore, the financing of ecclesiastic schools is insufficient, and absolutely objectionable is the system of rewarding members of the clergy according to particular categories. (The current level of the salary of a chaplain is 5080 SKK [Slovak Crown], which is close to the minimum salary of 4400 SKK). [2] State financing for sacred monuments is nonexistent.


1.3.2 The aims

The aim of the financial and economic management of the Church is to produce conditions enabling it to fulfill its missions. It is necessary in Slovakia to bring to an end the problem of Church financing.

The service of heralding the Gospel, providing the deaconry and performing the liturgy need an adequate economic background. All the employees of the Church – if they are to responsibly fulfill their duties and tasks – need an adequate salary. Furthermore, state and society impose onerous obligations on the Church: the spiritual and moral revival of the nation [3], charity, education, media activities, etc. In this connection there is a need for co-operation with the state’s institutions in Slovakia, which can help to improve the economic situation of the Church, or help us to prepare well devised and well presented projects.


1.3.3 Recommendations

a)  From the point of view of the internal life of the Church it is necessary to develop funds dedicated to securing the activities in the dioceses (funds for mass media, funds for catechetic centres, funds for protecting the Church goods)

b)  In relation to the State it would be advisable to establish a special body of the Bishops Conference as a team of professionals, whose representatives would work out and propose changes to particular ministries, have access to legislative and the parliamentary committees at their dealings.

In order to maintain the situation we consider it necessary for the state:

c)  To exempt, with regard to alleviating the injustices committed against the Church and the religious societies, these (bodies) from income taxes, regardless of their source (sale of properties entrepreneurial activities, rentals, etc.);

d)  To continue granting incomes to priests of Churches and religious societies so that these salaries are similar to those of employees in education or in health care services;

e)  To contribute to the indispensable needs of administrative centres of the Church;

f)  To contribute what is necessary for pastorisation and evangelisation activities of laymen in the Church;

g)  To make legal provisions for granting State subsidies for maintenance and repair of cultural monuments (e.g. 50-60 % of the total);

h)  To grant tax exemptions of donations (participation of citizens on the material security of the Church);

i)  To settle definitively the return to the churches of property expropriated in the past;

j)  To contribute to a sufficient extent to financing the activities of the Church in the public fields areas (education, health services, army, prisons, mass media, etc.).


1.4. The relation of science, belief and culture

1.4.1. The situation

A)  John Paul II, in the encyclical Fides et ratio (1998) appealed to scientists to join the philosophers and theologians in their search for the permanently valid truth, which exceeds the professional specificity of each field of scientific research and tries to find answers to basic questions of the human existence. It needs an interdisciplinary co-operation, without which there is a danger of incomplete interventions into “an unfamiliar problematic” and misunderstandings ensue.

B)  At present the pastorisation and evangelisation efforts of the Church do not deal only with religious knowledge, because the public, especially the non-believers, are not ready to accept “the revealed truths” from the manifold menu of varied spiritual “foodstuff” and it selects usually what is the most “tasty”. Only the spread of a serious scientific enlightenment can help both in the secular public and within the ranks of clergy and other persons actively operating at evangelisation. Modern science is capable of yielding very valuable knowledge in this respect;

C)  Interaction of the social and natural sciences with philosophy and theology indisputably exists. Science can help theologians to get rid of the commonly accepted anthropomorphic simplifications, theology and philosophy could help the sciences to discern between the scientific and theological language and terminology and warn of their rash philosophical or theological conclusions.

D)  In this respect there is a considerable experience available in Slovakia originating in symposia and scientific conferences (some of them reaching back to the period before 1989) especially in the communities of scientific workers of Bratislava and Košice.

E)  The following items can be viewed as positive features: – A comparatively good standard of science, especially in the natural sciences; – The existence of the ecclesiastic schools and of the Catholic University; – the resurgence of religious literature after 1989; – Co-operation of theologians and educated laymen, who understand each other in issues of science and religion.

F)  Negative features: – The heritage from the Communist era, affecting the whole society, which construes faith and science as incompatible – Way of thinking in terms of class warfare, according to which those of a different opinion are enemies – Insufficient knowledge of religious issues.


1.4.2. The aims

To encourage new progress in uniting those who seek the truth in the depth of the human soul, in the depth of the human experience and history and those who seek this truth in the enigmas of nature. It is a unity based not on assertions, but on openness, not on controlling, but on humility and love;

To show the believers and the non-believers, that reason and creative forces in man are the image of God in humans, and that the science and faith lead to discovering the Divine love for us;

To restore to humans their sense of beauty, grandeur and the awe of the Creator, Who calls us through this imperfect world to eternal joy.


1.4.3. Recommendations

a)  To keep supporting a dialogue between theology, philosophy, natural sciences as well as the sciences about man;

b)  To make it possible for priests who engage in the dialogue between faith and science to complete their knowledge in natural sciences and sciences about man;

c)  To provide for theological study for workers in science and culture in the form of a postgraduate study of theology;

d)  To make provision for interdisciplinary studies at the Universities;

e)  To establish and develop libraries at Christian Institutions.

f)  To pay attention to the publication of necessary literature in the field of science and faith;

g)  To lead an open dialogue about today’s burning issues as humble seekers of truth and with awareness of the responsibility for the development of this society;

h)  To organise suitable lecture cycles seminars, conferences;

i)  To produce suitable forms of popular lectures in the field of science and faith for a wider public.


1.5. Schools and education

1.5.1. The situation

A)  In Slovakia the renewal of the non-state school system after 1990 was facilitated by the rich traditions of the ecclesiastic and private school system. Legislative provisions enabled this. (Act No 171/1990 Zb,. Amendment to act No 29/ 1984 Zb, concerning the system of  the primary and secondary schools and the act No 524/1990/Zb,) They have led to conformity of the legal regulations of this state with the international rules regulating the protection of human rights and freedom in the fields of education and up-bringing.

B)  The basic documents of the Church Magisterium concerning the school system and education are translated into the Slovak language (Gravissimum educationis, The Common Catechetic Directory, Catechesi tradendae, Christifideles laici, Sapinnvcia christiana, Ex corde ecclesiae, CIC 1983 kán 793-821).

C)  At present there are in Slovakia 146 Catholic schools (the diocese of Banská Bystrica – 9, the diocese of Bratislava and Trnava – 57, the diocese of Košice –23, the archate of Košice – 2, the diocese of Nitra – 24, the Bishoprics of Prešov – 5, the diocese of Spiš– 26, At the State Universities there are three theological Faculties (Bratislava, Trnava, Prešov) for clerics and laymen. The Faculty of Bratislava has four theological Institutes (Nitra, Badín, Spišské Podhradie, Košice). Since 2000 there is a Catholic University in Ružomberok.

D)  Funding of non-State schools is provided to varied extent by the State by a transfer from the State budget to Regional District offices. Thus far the funding has lacked transparency and sufficiently clear rules.

E)  Factors which influenced positively the process of creating non-State schools:
–  Foundation of schools through initiatives coming from below by enthusiast pedagogic workers, parents, Church representatives;
–  Creation of non-governmental organisations of teachers ( Association of Christian Pedagogical Workers, Association of Catholic Schools of Slovakia, Christian-Democratic Association of Science and Education Workers);
–  International contacts and co-operation with partners from abroad in the field of non-State schools;
–  Financial and material support of domestic and foreign foundations, funds, and Churches;
–  Propitious social climate (1990-1994);
–  Introduction of postgraduate study for teachers and administrative staff since 1996 (qualification exams, work-study programme).

F)  Factors which influence in a negative way the process of creation and development of the non- State schools: – Insufficient and not yet unified legislation about the creation and work of the ecclesiastic schools, which leads to diverging interpretation on the part of the founder and the State officers. This results in conflicts about authorisation. Rules are lacking for transforming state schools into non-State schools;
–  The problem of lack of preparation of teachers to educate and teach in an alternative type of school emerged because one had to start from scratch;
 –  Manifestations of covert or open attacks against ecclesiastic schools, superstitions, expressing doubts about quality of education;
 –  Centralised state administration of education and upbringing inhibits developing the alternative mode of educating and up-bringing;
–  For a just competition between the schools no legislative and economic framework has been created;
–  From 1996 to 1968 there was no unbiased school inspection, which worked to the disadvantage of the non-State schools.

G)  After ten years of non-state schools´ existence one can claim, that despite all difficulties the Catholic schools gradually found their rightful place in the system of education.

H)  Apart from school education, some institutions and movements in Slovakia are engaged in organising so-called “adult Christian education”, i.e. they offer lecture evenings and seminars for adults (ÚSKI, Social Academy, Catholic Unity of Slovakia, Institute of Francis Salesius, Association of Christian Workers and Employers, Slovak Association for Family and Responsible Parenthood). These institutions meet twice a year on the Forum of the Christian Education of Adults. In addition, a new lecture series called “Paulus” was initiated. It is a collection of lectures, which can be ordered by the parish or school (with a speaker). At present there are about 60 lectures available. This project is open for additional lectures.

I)  In the present circumstances most believers possess insufficient religious knowledge. For most believers the only opportunity for education is the sermons. In the deluge of consumerism the habit of reading is missing, as is self-education by reading Catholic news (small print run of Catholic periodicals). Therefore, in Slovakia a new periodical was launched: The Holy Scriptures for Everyone.

J)  The Church is aware that there i no ready-made solution for every problem that arises. But as it was said in Ad limina in September 1998 – (the Church) prefers to stand side-by-side with everyone, to encourage him to responsibility and to invite him to seek the proper answer in the light of the Christian wisdom accumulated in the documents of the Teachers’ Office of the Church [a special Church institution].


1.5.2. The aims

The Church is aware that true education must aim at the complete formation of the human being, targeted on its ultimate aim and at the same time on the common benefit of the society. Children and the youth should be induced to develop their physical, moral and intellectual abilities in harmony, to gain a better sense of responsibility in the proper use of their freedom and preparation for active participation in social life. (cf. CIC 1983 kán. 705).


1.5.3. Recommendations

a)  To develop forms and methods for materialising the influence of the humane orientation of the Catholic religion on all levels of formation and education.

b)  To create conditions, for the school to be not only a place for teaching, but also for educating.

c)  To provide for teaching of religious education as a compulsory eligible subject matter at all levels of schools and in all classes.

d)  To strive for a further qualitative development of the non-state schools by increasing the numbers of these schools by converting state schools. To have this included in the law. [4]

e)  To legislate equal financing of state schools and non-state schools from the public purse.

f)  In conformity with the principle of subsidiarity to decentralise the management of the school system, to shift the responsibility for the school onto the headmasters and onto the particular regions. (To enable the schools to create their own programmes of education, which would take into account the needs and interest of the region itself and the traditions of the founders. To allocate 60 % of the time to the primary subjects, and 40 % of the time to the planned themes).

g)  To establish integrated schools with the aim of making the management and maintenance of schools more effective. For instance, merging nursery school and primary school, etc.

h)  To build up an information system and computer network at Catholic schools.

i)  To develop an integrated system of care for handicapped children at primary schools.

j)  To establish a new system of vocational training for students of secondary schools, who will not be admitted to the university studies.

k)  To authorise the Bishops Conference of Slovakia to draw up curricula, instructional aids and textbooks.

l)  To create in particular dioceses school councils, special sections of methodical associations and commissions for particular subject matter.

m)  Working out a spiritual profile of a teacher at a Catholic school and his or her continuous further Christian education.

n)  To inaugurate a special project for Christian education for adults within the Council for Education and Culture at the Bishops Conference of Slovakia.

o)  To engage the laymen graduated from theological studies more effectively in parishes for the project in the Christian education of adults, which has recently begun.

p)  To help establish at least one Institute of Christian education with a full-years programme.


1.6. The mass media – means of social communication

1.6.1. The situation

A)  The vocation of the Church is to bring to people salvation by heralding the Gospel. For proclaiming the Good News, the Church uses not only classical forms but also the means of social communication – the mass media. The Fathers of the [Second Vatican] Council recommend making use of these “marvellous discoveries of technology” and they even make it mandatory in their decree, Inter mirifica (1963). The Papal Council for Social Communications gives detailed guidelines for using them in pastorisation and evangelisation. These can be found especially in the instructions Communio et progressio (1971) and in Aetatis novae (1992).

B)  Catholic mass media activities (the official evangelisation behind which the Church stands with her authority) is manifested in the following fields:
–  The official body, the Press Agency of the Bishops Conference, headed by its spokesman represents the Catholic Church in its contacts with the media,
–  In the public media (religious editorial boards in Slovak Radio and in Slovak Television),
–  Mass media owned by the Church itself or organisations founded and controlled by the Church (Radio Lumen, Catholic News, Lux communication, SSV, diocesan and parish newspapers),
–  Media officially affiliated to churches (Publishing Co Lúč, Michal Vaško and others – approximately 13 organisations). Many periodicals of a theological as well as of a popular nature are published (approximately 40). [5]


1.6:2. The aims

Presenting the image of the Church to the society.
Creating unity and feelings of community among the believers.
Offering Christian values to non- practising Christians, to those searching for them and to non-believers.


1.6.3. Recommendations

a)  To develop the activities of the Bishops Conference Press Agency (further BCPA) and its links with the particular Bishops offices, especially on the level of the diocesan spokesmen;

b)  To secure as soon as possible contact between the BCPA and all influential secular media (especially through contact persons with a positive relation to Church) as well as with the Church-run media;

c)  Not to connect the function of the spokesman of BCPA with work in the media;

d)  To enhance and develop the Internet website of the Catholic Church;

e)  To place high quality staff in the Editorial boards for the religious broadcasting of the Slovak Radio and in the Slovak Television’s Programme Centre of the Spiritual Life [a specialised body in the Slovak Television dealing exclusively with religious programmes];

f)  To find ways for official influence of the Bishops Conference in nominating the directors of these institutions (amended insertion in the act on STV and Sro, contract between the Bishops Conference and the ERC [Ecumenical Council of Churches] and those institutions, suitable form of the Canon Mission etc);

g)  To strive for enhancement of the time allotted to broadcasting and screening religious programmes (quantitatively and qualitatively);

h)  To attain more frequent inclusion of reports about the life of the Church in the newsreels of the public institutions;

i)  To spread Christian ideas and programmes into the work of other editorial boards of STV and Sro;

j)  To cover the whole territory of Slovakia with broadcasting from Radio Lumen;

k)  To resolve the interrelation between Bishops Conference and the “Katolícke noviny” [Catholic News] (which is published by the Society of Saint Adalbert [SSV] but which the public takes as the official magazine of the Catholic Church);

l)  To effect a wider awareness of the activities of the video ateliers of LUX communication by using the parish libraries, video tape renting companies, and by propagating it through periodicals close to the Church;

m)  To make the activities if the SSV [Society of Saint Adalbert] more effective;

n)  To enhance the quality of parish periodicals through regular courses for editors and to organise help for them at the BCPA, or from the spokesmen of the Bishops offices;

o)  To launch a diocesan letter [column] in Catholic News which would replace the current diocesan periodicals;

p)  To improve co-ordination of the work between particular Catholic publishers, booksellers, authors, translators, journalists, and the official structures of the Catholic Church;

q)  To organise opinion polls about the expectations of believers and non-believers concerning the Catholic media and surveys of readers and audience ratings in these media as well as in public and private-run media;

r)  To appoint one delegate who is a representative of the Church in the Advisory boards for broadcasting, for the TV and Sro (in co-operation with the ERC [Ecumenical Council of the Church] – under the terms of the act currently in force on the advisory boards of the mass media;

s)  To insert in the Supplementary Treaties between the Holy See and the Slovak Republic the right to own media (and) at the same time the duty of the State to support them and to enable them to have coverage of the whole country;

t)  To publish a list of approved Catholic periodicals;

u)  To include in the subject “Homiletics” studied at theological faculties “New forms of announcing faith”;

v)  To launch fund-raising campaigns for the mass media, to maintain and support the existing media and underwrite new projects.


Notes for Part 1 

By the translator, Dr. Alexander Rehák

[1] "In the following years the churches were hardly granted any more financial subsidies." This is a misleading half-truth. While it is true that due to reorganisation and decentralisation many subsidies to Churches are no longer directly paid by the Culture Ministry, in many cases they are now paid instead by regional governments and municipalities.

The final account of the Slovak Republic’s budget for 2004 reports the following paid to all churches and religious organisations:
1) Ecclesiastic (faith) schools and private schools, (the latter forming a negligible part): 2123.8 million SKK,
2) Religious societies and church charity: 737.6 million SKK
3) Activities of clergy – including employees of Church institutions: 929.0 million SKK.
4) Prime Minister’s contribution from his personal "representation fund" – he supported 49 Church projects with 12.7 million SKK.)
Total: 3,803,100,000 SKK  (three billion, eight hundred and three million SKK)

(Source newspaper, SME, 27. 1. 2006, online discussion to article Website:  posted by discussion by “arkus”.)  

[2] Not included are the mostly luxurious accommodation, often a car for personal use from the municipality and charges to believers for services.

[3] After the end of Communism and the resumption of spiritual and moral revival of the Slovak nation by the Church, the overall crime rate doubled between 1985 and 2000 and has continued to rise. The figures, from editions of The Statistical Yearbook of the Slovak Republic, are analysed by K. Ondriaš: Zamatová revolúcia a rodeo veľkých samcov [The velvet revolution and the rodeo of the big males] (P.Co: Alternativa + Janošovský, Bratislava 2000, pages 116-121).

[4] State schools are being rapidly transformed into sectarian ones, and the 2004 Statistical Yearbook of the Slovak Republic lists 199 church schools (table VI 2-18) to only 114 private ones (table VI 2-19). However, these two types are lumped together in the figures for state subsidies (table AVI 2-20) making it impossible to determine exactly what portion of the 1,084,363,000. SKK [Slovak Crowns] is being paid to sectarian schools.

[5] By piecing together information from Statistics of the Culture Ministry for 1997-2000 it is possible to determine that in this period the number of religious titles has more than doubled, to become the country’s second largest publishing category. M. Ambrus and A.Rehák, Moc a náboženstvo [Power and Religion] (Bratislava: Prometheus Society of Slovakia, 2002), p. 62.


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