.- Priests must be more fully who they are, said Bishop Jan Babjak, the Byzantine Catholic bishop of Presov, East Slovakia.
“I want every priest to be 100 percent a priest because the clergy’s religious zeal leads to religious zeal on the part of the faithful,” he told Aid to the Church in Need during a recent visit to the charity’s head office in Germany.
Emphasizing the role of the priesthood, he said the priests in the Presov Cathedral hear confessions everyday, from 5 a.m. until 7 p.m., and there are always 5 or 6 people who want to receive the sacrament.
“It is the sacraments that give our people a firm anchor in a sea of liberalism,” he said. “Whenever the Church speaks out in public, there is resistance and, immediately, there are strong counter reactions by the liberal media,” he continued.
These counter reactions spill over to the average citizens, who do not want to listen to the Church’s teachings on various social issues. Still, the Church in East Slovakia is experiencing growth. The bishops reported that there are about 100 conversions each year.
There are between 250,000 and 260,000 Byzantine Catholics among Slovakia’s 5.4 million inhabitants.