.- Late this morning, Benedict XVI received Danilo Turk, the president of the Republic of Slovenia in an audience. The two leaders discussed the role of Slovenia in Europe and the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Slovenian government.
According to the Holy Seeâs Press Office, "The talks provided an opportunity to examine a number of matters concerning the current international scene, in particular the situation in the Balkans, also in the light of the Slovenian presidency of the European Union (January- July 2008).â
Mention was also made of the good relations that exist between Slovenia and the Holy See, as well as the need to ensure the protection of freedoms sought by the Church in Slovenia.
Pope Benedict considers the main challenge facing the Church in Slovenia to be "Western-style secularismâ. Speaking to the Bishops of Slovenia earlier this year, he called this type of materialism âdifferent and perhaps more underhand than Marxist secularism". It results in "the unbridled pursuit of material goods, the drop in nativity and the reduction in religious practice with a notable diminution in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life".