Today, Pope Benedict XVI addressed further secularization in Eastern Europe with bishops from the Slovak Episcopal conference.
As an Eastern European country known for its rich history in Catholic tradition, Slovakia is moving toward "the dynamic typical of other European countries of ancient Christian tradition, strongly characterized in our time by a vast process of secularization.”
Addressing the current state of Slovakia, the pontiff said, “currently [Slovakia is] exposed to the risk of seeing that heritage, which the communist regime did not manage to destroy, severely affected by characteristic elements of Western society: consumerism, hedonism, laicism, relativism, etc."
In response, the Pope drew attention to the current Plan for Pastoral Care and Evangelization, which is striving to rediscover the evangelization works of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, great missionaries and patrons of the Slavic people.
"This is a pastoral undertaking that aims to embrace all areas of society, ... giving particular attention to the spiritual requirements of young people and families. ... Quality formation in the field of education is extremely important for the future of new generations and, in this area, a precious contribution comes from Catholic schools which are very numerous in Slovakia."
After highlighting the declines in marriage and birthrates, he called upon the Church "to intensify its prayers and to continue to commit herself forcefully to support families in facing the challenges of the present."