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Part IV. Catholicism in Slovakia

- Strengthening the influence of Catholic clergy

Clergy and neofascism

In the last years after November 1989 one can note a substantial stabilising of material substance belonging to Catholic church, along with its influence on the whole public life of the country. It has been reflected not only in establishing a multitude of monastic orders , in reconstructing and erecting new sacral buildings , grounding of a multitude of civil and professional associations on religious base, but also on a definite influence of church dignitaries in State administrative bodies as concern the working staff , even in some of the ministries. All this is disproportionate to the composition of the population since out of 5,5 million citizens of Slovakia more than 1,5 million do not profess any religion. (101.)

Slovakia made a restitution of church properties with such a generosity and such advantages to churches which are not paralleled in any other Central European country. Returned were real estates which never belonged to churches , the church was only permitted to use them. The time limit was shifted back to May 8, 1945, although for other subjects the time limit remained February 25, 1948 . ( 136.) Contrary to capability of cultivating professionally the regained property a vast expanse of fields and forests was returned totalling 55.thousand hectares.( 37.).Bishop D. Hrušovský in a radio interview being asked how the church had originally acquired all its real estate , answered : " When the church needed it, she solicited for it." (Which
confirms :- gaining it by State subsidy) ( Pravda August 3. 1993 / Bill draft -( 102, 103, 104.)

The churches were granted a yearly subsidy of about 460 million Sk , what makes more than one million per day. Besides, information appeared about additional State subsidies in 1991- 1995 (State budget & ProSlovakia foundation ) to cover costs for restoring and building sacral edifices . These costs totalled additional 756 million 7000.000 Sk. This sum was used for 1238 projects of varied kind serving church . ( 105.) According to a press release starting from 1990 through 1995 only the Catholic church erected 120 new churches in Slovakia ( 106.) Over the past following years this figure , of course , increased.

In public mass media above all the Catholic church was given unprecedented air space for broadcasting .. A special editorial board for religious programmes was established . The TV programmes are full to the brim with "Christian" broadcasting and they propagate only religious views, giving no room whatsoever to needs of citizens professing no religion.. During the communist totality there were no special editorial boards for atheist education in mass media like those established now for religious propaganda ( 107.)

These facts culminate usually at the occasions of Catholic holidays . The New-Year welcome speech in the turn of 1994 was delivered by cardinal Tomko of Vatican ( 108.) The weekly "Nové slovo" invited the readers to express their opinion whether the Slovak radio and Slovak Television serve the needs of all citizens equally, regardless if they do adhere to religious faith or do not. The results of this opinion inquiry were most instructive.: A. Čundrákova declared . " ... as though we were again in Middle Ages.....some religious holidays are commented nearly in ecstasy..../ A. Necpalová comments: citizens who do not profess any religion equally pay due taxes ( they make according to census more than a quarter of total number of population), but they are denied any room and time in broadcast and television./ B. Ošťádlová :....the biggest part goes to Roman Catholic church....to the celebrations of M.R. Štefanik ( one of founders of the First Czechoslovak republic - comment of translator ) the Slovak television dedicated only a short shot , while ample television coverage is given to all kind of Saint Mass, pilgrimages to Šaštín and other places, religious processions with carrying the statue of Virgin Mary , etc. / M. Ilkanič suggests: Are we going to establish again the " Priest ridden republic "
P. Marchevský : has proposed : It would be interesting to count the TV time dedicated to screening religious
reporting ... ( 109.) Such a counting was done by TV listener B. Horňák, who published the following results:
During the Easter week 1997 . Slovakia 630 min.- Poland 295 min - Austria 170 min- Czech republic 150 min. ( 110.) The Slovak Television violates thus binding International Ministerial Agreements according to which it has to reflect the plurality of the society ( 111, 138.)

In other words: the ruling structures of contemporary Slovak republic have shifted in the hands of Catholic church material means , facilities for propagating, access to mass media to such an extent, that they have made of them an unprecedented force within the State. The political circles which have contributed to it were doing so with hopes that they gain the gratitude and favour of that church , which could be used by them to strengthen their own political influence .

Confirming how some political circles solicit for favour of Catholic clergy was the bill on State holidays passed by parliament., by which there is a preponderance of name days of varied Catholic saints , although half of the Slovak population claims other than Catholic religious or philosophical world-view. Ján Čarnogurský confirmed this kind of courtship to Catholic church saying that his party ( Catholic Democratic Movement - KDH), would never dare to push through so many church holidays , and that they can only smile over such tactics. ( 112. )

At discussions about the future candidate for the post of State's president, premier V. Mečiar ( and others who followed suit ) declared , that they prefer a man with national , social , . and Christian orientation . Should we thus throw overboard plurality anchored in our Constitution ? Instead of it should we adopt apartheid, in which " the whites" (= Christian -Catholics) are taken as a more privileged class, than " the blacks" ( = other-minded citizens)? - Or perhaps if this suggestion comes true do we return to the " Priest Ridden Republic" ? ( 113.)

 

Clergy and reviving neofascism in Slovakia

The deputy chairman of Conservative Democratic Party -J. Bednár addressed in 1993 by a letter the Vatican nuncio to Slovakia with a request to take position as concerns the proclamations of bishop A. Tkáč uttered in Ružomberok ( glorifying Tiso). The answer was somewhat evasive, but actually distancing itself from attitude of bishop Tkač- saying that "responsibility for assertions of individual bishops lays on the respective bishop himself." (Giovanni Coppa- 131.)

As soon as in first years after the "velvet revolution" voices were raised from some circles of church dignitaries , supporting the efforts of ludák groups from abroad to exculpate Tiso and his regime from their responsibility.

Bishop Alojz Tkáč demanded the Czech nation to apologise for Tiso´s execution ( 104.) ( Certainly a tolerant contribution to the" better- than- standard relations " with the neighbour Czech republic. - comment of compilers )

Cardinal Korec affirmed , that J. Tiso did not sign during six years of his State's existence a single capital punishment. Lawyer K. Zavacká comments this saying:....president is nowhere in this world competent to sign or not to sign capital punishment sentences. He may grant mercy , or not to do so. ( 104.) What to add to it? Only to ask if Tiso did grant mercy to those 5,304 citizens , among whom were women, elders and babies thrown alive into the burning flames , whose corpses were found in 211 mass graves all over Slovakia. ( he decorated the perpetrators of these murders.). Certainly those murderers did not do anything wrong . Namely the Catholic priest Albert Hadera - in the lime-kiln of Rástocká waley , where the executions took place- gave them his blessing and after accomplishing the murders he gave them absolution .(See :Documents .mass graves of Nemecká- D. Baranová- ref. No 128.)

And what about the 70 thousand of Slovak citizens who became victims during the six years of the regime blessed by God ( and Catholic clergy) who lost their life without any court sentence.? Despite this, the argument of Tiso not signing capital sentences became a cliché, which is repeated shamelessly time and again by some politicians
Cardinal J. Ch. Korec on a press conference in New York defended the president of former Slovak State - J. Tiso declaring that Tiso could not prevent deportations of Jews and dissidents , while he had to yield to Hitler's pressure . ( 129.)This assertion contradicts the report of chargé d´affaires Giuseppe Bursio dated on March 3, 1942. in which he tells that it happened ."...without any pressure on the part of Germany, which even demands a fee of 500 DM per capita " ( fee for exterminating them- comment by O. Dányi - 130.) Hitler himself told about it in his memoirs as follows: " It is interesting how this Catholic little priest Tiso sends us the Jews..." ( 18.)

The chairman of bishops conference , bishop Rudolf Baláž claimed at a public press conference , that Tiso was" an exceptional and excellent personality ".. when in April 1996 he was reproached that he was too stubborn- without realising the consequences of his public proclamations for the religious people , msg R. Baláž objected saying that ."a bishop does not speak for himself , but for the God" ( 132.) No wander that some citizens consider such proclamations " a delusion and political cabaret " ( 133.)

Sympathies in the name of all bishops with" civil initiatives" for celebrating Tiso were announced in bishop conference letter as a collective body- ( signed by msg Peter Dubovský) At the same time it confirmed that the bishops supported such initiatives , because Tiso was a faithful son of this nation and an excellent statesman ( Letter of bishops conference dated on May 15, 1996.- 134.)

As long as prominent dignitaries of the Catholic clergy openly express in such away their standpoints , no wander that priest on lower posts of the Catholic hierarchy join the dissemination of sympathies to clerofascist State and its representatives by speech and acts . The "Catholic news " advertised 5 books glorifying the merits of J. Tiso published by " Society of friends of president J. Tiso" ( 135.) On the cemeteries printed prayers are distributed for "benediction" of J. Tiso ( 136.) Saint Mass for J. Tiso are served , on Catholic churches the bells ring to commemorate his death.

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