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January 2022

  • Publication of the results of the 2021 national census on religiosity

2021 was a year of national census. The results of the part concerning religion have been publicly announced 20 January by the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic. According to data, Slovakia has remained a predominantly Christian country with a high number of believers (67,6% of the total population). The number of Catholics has decreased during the last twenty years (from 68,9% in 2001 to 55,8% in 2021). On the contrary, the population without religion had doubled their numbers in the last thirty years (from 9,8% in 1991 to 23,8% in 2021). For the first time in history, the census also published the numbers of people claiming some sort of contemporary pagan religion – 0,074%. The biggest surprise of the census was a relatively high number of people who claimed they are followers of Svedkovia Liehovoví (Witness of Alcogod), invented religion mocking alcoholism, religious formalism and criticising the strict law of registration of religious societies.

  • State support for the Catholic Church in the pastoral care of Roma

Minister of Finance, Vice Prime Minister and former Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Igor Matovič has expressed support for the continuation of missionary work in the pastoral care of the Roma, while accusing NGOs of stealing support for work with excluded Roma communities. The project of missionary pastoral work in Roma communities will continue in 2022, following a government decision, for which the government has earmarked 330,000 euros to pay for the work of 23 pastoral assistants in localities with Roma communities, mostly in eastern Slovakia. The Minister recalled the results of the pilot version of the project, which in 2020 and 2021 employed 16 pastoral workers, six of whom were Roma. The sum of 330,000 euros for the project in 2022 will be released to the Catholic Church, namely the Slovak Bishops’ Conference, from the government’s reserve. The money is to reimburse the work of 23 pastoral assistants. "If I compare this with the hundreds of millions of euros that have been stolen, especially by the Bratislava NGOs, which have been showing a seemingly godly activity by going to teach Roma in settlements how to dance, cook, sew and so on, but in reality they had only one goal, to steal these funds intended to help the neediest people, then this is a very effective way of working with the Roma community," said Igor Matovič. The former prime minister expressed his belief that the most effective way is to help those who have been working in Roma communities for a long time for free, perhaps with the purpose of developing the spirituality of the people there. According to Matovič, the various activities of the churches are much more successful compared to those of non-governmental organisations. A group of civic associations has therefore written an open letter in which they have called on Igor Matović to stop his misleading and generalising attacks on organisations that help the Roma.

  • Churches Call for Changes in Health Law

The Ministry of Health has submitted an amendment to the Health Care Act to introduce systematic long-term and palliative care in Slovakia, including sub-support for mobile hospices and home nursing care agencies. Nearly 400 comments were received on the draft law, including requests from the Catholic Church (Slovak Bishops’ Conference) to extend health care to include spiritual care and to include priests in the category of health care workers. This is the third attempt in the last twelve months to legislate for spiritual care in institutional health care facilities.

D 6 April 2022    AMichal Puchovský AMiroslav Tížik

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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