Pope John Paul II's pilgrimage to Poland brought the issue of religious freedom, particularly in the communist countries of Eastern Europe, to world attention.
Pope John Paul II's pilgrimage to Poland brought the issue of religious freedom, particularly in the communist countries of Eastern Europe, to world attention. The Pope referred to the church as the true home of Roman Catholics in communist countries and spoke of the spiritual unity of Eastern Europe. Although religious celebrations are tolerated in Poland, church leaders are forbidden to build new churches or restore old ones to accommodate the faithful. Church publications and religious literature are censored by the government. There is an outstanding exception to the relative absence of religious freedom in communist countries and that is Yugoslavia.
SYNOPSIS: The hilltop church is part of the landscape in the Republic of Slovenia - home of many of Yugoslavia's seven million Catholics.
Here, the faithful do not fear repercussions for their religious activities. The Yugoslavian constitution separates church and state... all religions are recognised and granted equal rights under the law. A testimony to the nation's religious freedom is the number of new churches in Slovenia. There has been a building boom int he last ten years. More new churches have been built than int he period between the two world wars.
In Ljubljana, many new churches have been built to accommodate growing congregations. The Archbishop's house has an old world look in contrast to the modern religious buildings. Religious literature abounds in Yugoslavia where nearly two hundred religious papers and magazines are published. Books and other church publications from around the world are sold freely and widely read. In the Slovenian Republic the weekly Catholic newspaper has a circulation of over one hundred thousand. People of all religions are free to worship as they pease in Yugoslavia.