Catholic lay organisations in the Czech Republic must be rebuilt, Archbishop Jan Grauber, new chairman of the Czech bishops' conference, said yesterday (Thursday 15 June). Archbishop Grauber, who is also bishop of the diocese of Olomouc, said the Czech church should adopt new approaches in its pastoral work and be ready to seek unconventional solutions. Archbishop Graubner said a collaboration between Catholic associations and the church would add a new dimension to the church's practical work at parish level. In the pre-war era, there were many different lay organisations catering for different ages and interest groups from youth groups to clubs for the elderly. Under the communist regime, however, the country became one of the most secularised states in the communist bloc. Most Catholic clubs and societies were either paralysed or harnessed by the state for its own ends. Today the re-establishment of these associations is proceeding only haltingly, Archbishop Graubner said. Catholic parishes and dioceses could quietly encourage this process, he added. The Archbishop said: "The collapse of communist structures has left a vacuum in its place. People are seeking a new sense of direction," he said. Archbishop Graubner was speaking to the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, who have contributed more than seven million pounds for the establishment of parish and diocesan centres and for training of priests and religious there.
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