Slovenian Gears Up for New Pastoral Approaches

Catechesis and Family Care Among Key Points

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2002 ( The Catholic Church in Slovenia is preparing to carry out an overhaul of its pastoral strategy in the post-Communist era.

On May 18 it plans to promulgate the minutes of its first plenary council, which met in two sessions, in November 1999 and November 2000. The Holy See approved the minutes last December.

John Paul II has appointed Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as his special envoy for the May event in Ljubljana, the capital. Slovenia used to be part of Yugoslavia.

The plenary council entailed a decisive reorganization of the Church, following the transition phase after four decades of Communist domination, Ljubljana Archbishop Franc Rode told Vatican Radio.

«The theme of the council is well expressed in its title, ´Choose Life,´ taken from the Book of Deuteronomy,» he said. «In a word, the council addressed the pastoral reorganization of the Slovenian Church, based on a global pastoral plan that describes the Church´s activity in all sectors of life.»

«The accent has been especially on catechesis, the transmission of the Gospel message to young generations, and family pastoral care, in addition to other aspects,» the archbishop explained.

«The Communist system, which lasted 45 years, filled the people with fears,» Archbishop Rode added. «Christians still do not dare to appear in public, do not dare to commit themselves in public life, out of fear but also because even today, in this era of post-Communism, one cannot speak of total equality among people.»

«The believer is still discriminated against in a subtle way in certain environments of the state administration, of culture, and of national education,» the archbishop said.

«More courage and interior strength must be infused in Christians, so that they will address with a clear and firm identity the commitments society presents,» he continued. «I think this change of the Christian conscience and this affirmation of a stronger and clearer identity of Catholics, is one of the tasks of the first plenary Slovenian council.»

About 70% of this southeastern European nation´s 2 million people are Catholics.

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