Pope brings message of unity to a country in turmoil

It was nice while it lasted. Which wasn’t long.

Pope Francis and President Zuzana Čaputová at the airport.Pope Francis and President Zuzana Čaputová at the airport. (Source: TASR)

Welcome to your weekly overview of news from Slovakia. We look back at the Pope’s visit. The war among the police escalates, with political consequences. The governing parties ponder a possible breakdown in their coalition. Delta is spreading ever faster, with some districts now in partial lockdown.

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What the Pope’s visit meant to Slovakia

For a while in September, Slovakia basked in a very different atmosphere from the one it has known for the past year and a half. The messages of unity and solidarity that Pope Francis sent out wherever he went seemed to affect many hearts in Slovakia, if only for a while.

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Politicians anticipated the papal visit with wishes for Francis to bring peace, and to calm the conflicts in a country where even the visit itself had sparked heated fights about vaccines as entrance tickets to encounters with the Pope – as if the pontiff were here to distribute presents like St. Nicholas in December or clean up their mess. A rude awakening came earlier than expected, with the arrests of police officers on the second day of the papal visit.

But it was the Pope’s presence that put Slovakia on the world stage last week, and the gestures he made while in the country were meant to be seen beyond the country’s borders, too.

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