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Things in Slovakia need not be like that.

Anton Rákay

(Daily „PRAVDA“ June 6,2000)

The community -wide discussion has been none of events which the authors of the Vatican Treaty Draft wanted.- in their efforts to postpone to the maximum the time when some aspects of the document will need to be deciphered. The treaty is namely not an international agreement of two nations, i.e. treaty with the miniature „Stato della Citt del Vaticano“, which has about one thousand citizens living on an area of 0, 44 km2 , but an exclusive and totally asymmetric contract between a sovereign State and an ideology represented by the subject of Apostolic Seat, acknowledged as a diplomatic subject. This treaty is to codify the mutual relations between Slovakia and a monolithic life stance, which aspires to be global and supra-national. Just that one which historically left behind in Europe (along with other religions) its positive imprints, but many a time stood behind historical conflicts , wars, and terror.

The authors of that totally unsymmetrical treaty - give a priority to a wording which clearly puts the benefits to Vatican above the gains to Slovakia, referring moreover misleadingly to Vienna convention., which decrees a higher legal power to a ratified international treaty enabling it to overrule the internal legal system of the contracting State. The contracting sovereign States voluntarily renounce by it some elements of their own sovereignty in favour of higher benefits equally advantageous for both parties.

To acknowledge priorities to ideological normative of Vatican , not to those of our own State would mean for us to return back in Middle ages -as to our international legal position . Moreover in the text of this Draft there is a requirement to pass gradually additional -not specified laws, which would concur with the „spirit“ of the Treaty. One can presume, that just the said laws will interfere deeply in the scope of individual rights to freedom of thought.

In its efforts to acquire a privileged position Vatican behaves this time too in a forcible way, one-sidedly, domineeringly, with no heed to benefits of others. That explains the efforts not to speak too much about the treaty, to speed up the final text so that no room and time remains for its evaluation. All that has been in line with practices and by in the history compromised scenario - aiming to sign and to ratify the treaty as soon as possible - thus to manipulate the citizens into a degrading role of a puppet dominated by hands others - in this case even by foreign hands - in this painful little theatrical parody pretending democracy.

Separation of State and church.

For a referendum about the controversial Treaty with Vatican there is no money, neither time enough, indeed. If it were held then the question should be centred on deciding about a complete separation of State and church- which would among others ban the absurd claim asking for a full funding of all church activities from State budget , without any right of State authorities to interfere in the aims these financial means are used for. Such a fair model of separation is quite usual in Europe and even the church dignitaries had demanded it not only during the totalitarian era, but also after November 1989.In the conditions of a separation model each church is to finance its own activities itself – exclusively from their own funds collected from direct taxes of citizens who had declared to be its followers.. Non-denominational citizens and those who refuse to support financially their (nominal) church would pay an adequate percentage of tax for transparent and controllable charity and social funds, which at present only vegetate more from grants given by sponsors, than from state contributions. It would be much indicative if according to the law only those who declare to be “believers “ were taxed- with exemption of those who declared not to be religious “believers”! Those who claim that our nation is faithfully Christian would be evidently amazed realising how many people had left the ranks of believers. Not a few of them would prefer to be an atheist enjoying a tax exemption! This would be a unique moral cleansing enabling the church to get rid of such ones for whom the belief in God begins and ends on the threshold of the church-entrance and outside it the adoration of the Golden Calf is their Commandment -with pleasures in this worldly life , not in the heaven.

The State church separation would certainly solve some more problems. It would secure equality before the law to all state –acknowledged religious communities and would obviate the continuous enforced preference given to Catholic church which is many a time even on account of the other fraternal churches.

The dominance of Catholicism.

Accepting superiority of norms valid for Catholic church, which has been declared by the Draft Treaty would enable to pass gradually laws dictated from a position of stipulations in conscience. It is nearly sure that it would bring about substantial restrictions or a complete ban of abortions and our women would be forced to follow the tragic Polish way of illegal abortions at home, or in the framework of “abortion tourism” for those who belong to well-to-do population. There are some signs signalling a growing pressure of Catholic church with the aim of banning divorces, to acknowledge only ecclesiastical marriages, banning a legalised partnership between homosexuals , a negative influence on the public opinion about after-death organ donation to be used for transplantation, and as a matter of course any considerations about legalising euthanasia would be definitely rejected.

The text of the draft treaty has expressed the evident efforts of Catholic church to influence substantially the whole scope of the education in schools- not only in the matters of sexual education- with the intention to shape the intellectual development from the very beginning in persons who are more or less passive and thus apt to yield to a permanent indoctrination.

The treaty would secure the right for the church to teach religion in all types of schools as a compulsory subject matter with the aim of enforcing the Catholic education to children since their age in which the individual personality is malleable to its maximum. In case of a State-church-separation a much more reasonable and fairer solution could have been offered: The curriculum in all types of schools would contain classes of compulsory education to the life stance in which the pupil gets a non-biased explanation of basic ethical normative and of the philosophy of all religions including atheism. In this way the evolving personality would be acquainted truthfully with basics of all creeds and spiritual movements and could adopt freely his/her own life stance.

A neuralgic, but simultaneously a foggy key point is still open to question: On behalf of whom the Catholic church actually speaks . The recent investigation of Sociologic Institute of the Slovak Academy of Science regarding spiritual values and orientation of Slovakia’s citizens has disclosed that 80 % of respondents claimed to be affiliated to some religion- out of whom 51 % consider themselves unequivocally religious

(16 % believe without doubting, 19 % have some stipulations, 16 % are liberal-minded and their believes are relatively loose) Additional 19 % declared to be totally indifferent in matters of religion and the rest of 19 % are atheists. The latter along with those who are passive in matters of religion make up a statistically significant group of 48 % of the respondents – namely a “minority” of more than two millions ( total Slovakia’s population number 5 million). For all of them the philosophy of the treaty to be prepared is at least alien, or totally unacceptable. If we take only the minimal (distorted- comment of translator) numbers about the proportion of “unbelievers”( approximately 8-10 %) it would be still at least a minority of half a million of people, the constitutional rights of whose to be without any religious creed would be suppressed in a discriminatory way.

The turncoats who went astray.

It has been often pronounced in church circles that in the last decade the numbers of believers have substantially increased. The post-November thawing of snows, brought about a complete freedom of religious creed , which was not claimed in public before by a not negligible part of believers. Along with those a crowd of turn-coats returned in the lap of the church – pushed by an instinct of sheep which had gone astray and now they seek a better pasture to graze. In their careerist intentions to gain a kind of moral, political or pragmatic capital till now a degrading, Pharisee-like expressions of their nature can be noted . In this respect non-believers have to value much higher a cardinal, who remained a sincere believer even at that time when he suffered for it from varied kinds of persecution and did not renounce his faith, than those morally split people who take now out of their sleeves the card of alleged religiosity. Those flexible ones have always been the weed in the sound grain of the body of the believing and non-believing nation. In order to prove their current faithfulness to creed , they are capable to implant into our society a discriminatory treaty in favour of the dominant church – regardless on atheists to whom they just in the near past so proudly claimed to belong !

(The author is a writer – novelist)