East European governments intend to strengthen their campaign for "socialist ceremonies" to replace religious baptism, marriage and burial rites. The decision was taken earlier this month at a conference in Pressburg, Czechoslovakia, attended by representatives from the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic.
Figures published in the Hungarian journal E'er es lrodalom show that of 95,000 weddings in Hungary last year
only 11,000 were "socialistically" celebrated. More than 150,000 Christian baptisms took place, compared with a mere 5,500 "namegiving" ceremonies — despite the fact that parents who bring their children to the state ceremony receive a cash grant.
Observers see the Pressburg conference as a further indication that East European countries are trying to coordinate their policy towards the Churches. A common policy is said to have been discussed at a conference in the Crimea this summer.