Piše: A. H. (Nova24TV)
“What is this!? Instead of ideological diversity, the first public prayer in Odmevi show is only commented on by an anti-church leftist extremist. Depoliticisation? No, unfortunately, it is blatant uniformity, unworthy of public TV funded by all,” commented long-time journalist Dr Jože Možina critically in response to Friday’s Odmevi show on the topic of the first public prayer in the capital. Two discussants from different perspectives did not comment on the public prayer, as one would expect from the public broadcaster RTVS, but only Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr Aleš Črnič, who naturally sees religious matters in a completely different light than the intended purpose of the prayer event.
On Friday morning, the first public rosary prayer took place in Ljubljana, following the example of countries that are traditionally Catholic. Approximately two hundred worshipers attended the prayer, which was organised for the homeland, the faith of Slovenian youth, a successful start to the academic year, and world peace. In line with practices abroad, everyone was invited to the prayer, especially young men, and boys who, according to the organisers, were the first to be called to be “leaders and examples in witnessing faith”. Prior to the prayer itself, Tadej Ložar, administrator of the Homec parish and co-administrator of the Vranja Peč parish, addressed concerns raised by some, emphasising that the public expression of faith is freely and constitutionally protected under Article 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia. “No one is forced to be there, and this prayer will be peaceful,” he announced, and it turned out as such.
In Odmevi show, Professor Dr Aleš Črnič explained that this is a movement within the Roman Catholic Church. According to him, understanding this is essential for comprehending Friday’s event in Slovenia. “This event itself does not seem to be anything special, and at first glance, it may seem like we are paying it too much attention. Maybe it is not quite that way. Within our context, there is nothing special about it – a group of people praying for the homeland, a successful start to the academic year, and nothing wrong with it. When we look at the bigger picture, we must first realise that it is organised by a part of the Roman Catholic Church,” he highlighted and added that the Roman Catholic Church is the oldest and largest global institution, which wields enormous power and, in his view, uses it skilfully and effectively.
Misinterpretation of public religious events
“When we see why and how such prayers take place in Poland, we see that these are systematic organised processes of re-traditionalising the entire society, which most often manifests itself in terms of gender roles, the role of women, the role of men. In this Slovenian case, which is very timid, we could say that this is primarily evident in the call addressed mainly to men, who are called to be leaders,” he continued. He added that according to this old way of thinking, women are, therefore, meant to be by the stove or, as the Germans say, to take care of children, the kitchen, and going to church (Kinder, Küche, Kirche).
When asked if this is an official movement of the Roman Catholic Church or just a part of it, Črnič responded that, in this case, it is undoubtedly just one part with a clear connection. He emphasises that it is not a group of a self-organised society doing this on their own, but it is within the context of the Roman Catholic Church. He finds it significant and interesting that the Catholic community is not unanimous here, and that in the past two days when discussing this issue, various opinions within the Catholic community have been noted. “Some Catholics believe that this kind of public expression of religion and the public use of religion for socially engaged action, for social struggles, for cultural struggles, which are political in the broadest sense of the word, can be a double-edged sword. That it can also be detrimental to the church itself or to the church as a community of believers.”
He says it is difficult to say how extensive this kind of movement is. It started most massively in Poland, Croatia, and also in Ireland, and so on. “But it is interesting that in some ways, in some segments, it operates similarly to American movements that are slightly different, older, and much more intense, which then led to various protests against abortion, where all these currents ultimately lead to the right to freedom of choice in childbirth, which is also a constitutional category in Slovenia,” he added.
When asked how successful they are in changing societies where they are active, he answered that it varies depending on the location. He pointed out that if we look at Poland, they are relatively successful there. However, he added that an RTVS correspondent stated in one of the Odmevi show that more than 6 million Poles have left the church in the last ten years. “So, the success is a matter of how we measure it. In some ways, in Poland, we see that the role of women has been much more limited in many respects than it used to be. On the other hand, we have the mass protest of women,” he continued. In conclusion, he stated that we can expect the same in our country. “When you use religion for social action, you must expect a reaction.”
Criticism of the show was not lacking
In response to the recent Odmevi show, several comments were made, which speak for themselves:
“Inviting someone who hates the subject of their research (Christianity) is nonsensical. If they chose him, a pluralistic public broadcaster would have also invited Dr Stres, for example. But the liberated public broadcaster does not have that reach.”
“The same happened in the report about the march for life. They only broadcast statements from opponents of the march for life. RTV needs a reset.”
“It is incredible how much hatred anarchist-leftist activists express, from journalists to politicians. Not just rhetorically, but if we also look at their views and non-verbal communication. Pure and simple malice, hatred, disdain, unwarranted superiority complex.”
“The host had an appropriate guest.”; “And then RTV Slovenia wonders why there are so many initiatives and resistance against paying for what it should be doing?”