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VIII. The Struggle of the Small Communities.

(One chapter from the book of Gyula Havasy:
Martyrs of the Catholics in Hungary 1944-1989)

13. Manipulation of the new primate

a.) The new primate is László Lékai
On the 25-th anniversary of Mindszenty's lawsuit, on the 5-th of February, 1974, the Vatican removed him from his position as archbishop. In his place, the archbishop of Esztergom became László Lékai.
Dr. László Lékai was born on 12th March, 1910. He finished his theological studies in Rome and was ordained priest on 28th October, 1934. In 1936 he served as the prefect in a boy's school in Veszprém, then from 1937 to 1944 as a teacher in the seminary in Veszprém. In 1940, he changed his name from Lung to Lékai. Between 1944 and 1948, he served as Mindszenty's secretary, then later, from 1948 to 1959, as parson and dean in Balatonlelle, at the same time, in 1956 and 1957, he was the bishop's chancellor. Then as Parson in Zalaszentiván in the years 1959-1969, parson of Badacsonytomaj between 1969 and 1972, Bishop and governor of Veszprém between 1974 and 1976. His favourite motto was "once pruned turns green". He was archbishop of Esztergom, cardinal and primate from 1976 on (Sematizmus, 361). He died in 1986.

Dean Lékai at the political police
Parson György Kiss was held in the political police for 9 days of questionings in 1957. The last day he tore to pieces the record he had signed the previous day, and for this had to stay in the parish of his village till the end of his life. During the questionings, once, he saw the 47 year old dean, Lekai, in a police room. He was pale as a sheet. (György Kiss)
During the revolution of 1956 Lékai became the cancellor of the bishop in Veszprém. After a few months he was transferred, under the pressure of AEH, to a small village over the lake Balaton.
When he left the village, the president of the council told his successor: "please don't report us every detail of your life; where you go, who you meet etc., like your predecessor did". (from the priests of Veszprém)
Casaroli could go to Warsaw with the diplomatic success of filling in the post of the archbishop of Esztergom in February, 1974. The atmosphere of the talks could be characterised by the guests of the banquet on the last day: every invited representative of the government was present, but no one of the Church Å not even cardinal Wojtila- was there. (from the Poles)
The pope appointed Lékai as administrator of the Veszprém diocese in 1972, to governor of Esztergom diocese in 1974 and Å half a year after the death of primate Mindszenty, in 1976 Å to archbishop of Esztergom and primate of Hungary.

b.) Exposed by the Government
The law No.48 of 1948 says: "anyone, who insults an association or sect by word or by act, could be sentenced up to one year of prison" (Kádár,I,111.)
Only the catholic Church is exposed by TV, press and theatre.
Every sect was more or less respected by the government, except the catholics. The others might have conflicts with the government, but it was not public. At the same time, the Catholic Church was always exposed, and slandered in many ways during the decades after 1945, even after 1980. This slander was everywhere: in the school books, in the mass media, in the press, cinemas, theatres. Some examples:
In the satirical periodical "Ludas Matyi" about 100 caricatures were made on catholics in the years 1945-53. During the cold war the favorite theme was the Vatican and Pope Pius XII. Most of the pictures lacked humor and were rude. (Demeter, 38-41)
Kálmán Mikszáth's hundred year old novel "Odd marriage" was twice on the TV's program. The film was full of frolic remarks and scenes. Hundreds of thousands of children saw the film. (U.E., 2 December, 1984).
The book "Saint on the Bridge" from Jiri Sotola was translated into Hungarian.. The book is nothing more than 608 pages of antireligious abuse. (U.E., 7-th of February, 1985)

Official Opinions About the Church
Lékai pruned the tree so well that it has withered
The government's general opinion about the Church at Lékai's time might be summarised so; that there are no problems with religious people, but with religious ideology. The good contacts between the Church and the government are in the interests of both sides, and the people. Having this in mind, Lékai's motto was: "I'll prune the tree of the Church, so it could shoot". However, by the opinion of the West, he pruned the tree once too well.
There are about one and a half million more or less religious people in Hungary. The government tried to create antagonism between the leaders and the priests of the Church. They started to blame each other for making too many compromises. So if the government had a problem with the Churches, they simply settled it with the deans and bishops.
An example of that were the small communities, which were dangerous because they could easily create sects and they refused military service. The most dangerous of them were considered to be the so called Bulányi communities, since they were against military service and for allowing marriage of priests.
The students of the seminaries are not always from the best of the youth. More than half of them are eccentric, nervous. The knowledge of the new priests is getting poorer every year.
(from a report of László Varga, secretary of AEH in county Csongrád)

The government uses the bishops as marionets
The author of this book handed the following letter of Varga to the cardinal in 1981:
"It's very painful for us and for the young priests that the government can treat the leaders of the Church as marionets. (the cardinal, reading the letter, suddenly asked: "Me? A marionet?") For example, after the pilgrimage in July and after the youth meeting at Nagymaros the AEH people told the parson not to listen to what cardinal Lékai says.
Their game with the leaders of the Church was well planned under the principle "divide et impera" of every dictatorship.
We ask You to listen to Your priests, who are Your collegues, selected by the Lord. They have a lot of information and experience, which could only be acquired in their posts."

The self justification Cardinal Lékai
From 1974 on, the author of this book had about ten interviews with Cardinal Lékai in Esztergom. During those interviews the Cardinal often pointed at Czechoslovakia on the other side of the Danube:
"We don't want to have such relations here as theirs", he said. (The oppression of the Church was much stronger there. For example, a priest wasn't allowed to celebrate mass in the neighbouring village without the permission of the government.)
Lékai was backed by Casaroli. This one could notice, for example in this case: the members of a small community were received in Lékai's audience requesting help for a man imprisoned for refusing military service. Lékai made a phonecall to Casaroli at once. The answer he received was that force and violence are different. Armed forces are neccessary. (from the participants of the interview)

Small steps under the control of the government.
During the talks with Imre Miklós, the chairman of AEH, Lékai was contented with small steps as the dictator of AEH inclined to yield.
On the jubilee of archbishop József Ijjas in Kalocsa, 1984, he said in his speech: "some people didn't realize that those 'small steps' of our policy were made with a lot of struggle and ponderings. Archbishop Ijjas knows that struggle well" (UE. 4 November, 1984)
One half of the 20 posts at the chapter of Esztergom were filled with peace priests. There were 62 honorary chaplains there. In a decanal department, of 10 priests, the number of prebends was triple the chaplains' number.
All this after the IInd Vaticanum, which agitated against feudal ranks and titles. The excuse Lékai gave was: "as long as the Pope gives titles, the bishops will do it as well".

c.) The medals of Primate Lékai
The government poured medals on the bishops and other clerical leaders. (a statute in the periodical "The Tablet", England, 31 July, 1982)

"The man of conscience"
During his visit to America in August 1979, Imre Miklós visited Arthur Schneider, the Chief Rabbi of New York, who is of Hungarian origin. (M.K., 25-th of August, 1979)
Arthur Schneider was the chairman of the "Request of Conscience" foundation. In Esztergom, on 13th of November, 1979 he handed dr. László Lékai the "Man of Conscience" medal in the presence of Imre Miklós, the leaders of the Church and guests from other denominations. (Sematizmus, 86) A banquet with kosher geese followed the celebration. After the banquet the windows of the archbishop's palace were broken with stones. (a well known fact in Esztergom)

The order of the Hungarian People's Republic, Decorated with Rubies
"The Presidium of the Hungarian People's Republic presents cardinal dr. László Lékai, Archbishop, Primate of Hungary on his 71-st birthday, the "Award of The Hungarian People's Republic Decorated with Rubies". The medal was handed to him by Pál Losonczi, the president of the presidium on 11-th of March, 1980 in the Houses of the Parliament." (Sematizmus, 87)
He visited patriarch Pimen and the catholics of Lithuania 6-13 November, 1979. (Sematizmus, 86). The delegation, led by cardinal Lékai, was seen to the airport by Imre Miklós, chairman of AEH, and the attaché of the Soviet Embassy. During their return to Budapest they were met once again by Imre Miklós and the attaché. (UE, 11. November, 1979)
On Imre day, cardinal Lékai presented a banquet to the honour of Imre Miklós, chairman of AEH, in the palace of the archbishop. All the significant leaders of AEH and the Church were present. (told by the students of the seminary, who served at the banquet)
President Losonczy presented a banquet on the primate's 75-th birthday. On the banquet, held in the Houses of the Parliament on 11th of March, 1985, the bishops, vice prime minister Judit Csehák and state secretary Imre Miklós, chairman of AEH were present. (UE., 17th of March, 1985)

The film "The Building Cardinal"
The director teaches the mutes to pray
The cinema "Horizont", Budapest, presented a documentary film from March, 1983, with the title "The Building Cardinal", which was produced by the TV on cardinal Lékai.
The film was made in the new church of Farkasrét. The parson Imre Biró (a member of the presidium) celebrated a Christmas mass in February. The children's chore of the TV sang on the mass. The mutes were the pupils from the eight form class of the János Arany school - a special school, made on the 12 class Soviet model. The director had to teach them how to hold their hands for praying (as mutes). When the film was presented in the Ministry of the Interior, several cadres recognized their own children, so those pictures were cut out from the film. The TV broadcasted a one hour part of the film on 18th of May, 1983 in the evening program.
"Once pruned turns green": a portrait of László Lékai. A coloured album, with a cover photograph, showing Lékai, as he stands smiling in front of the bishops.

The TV program on 20th of August: Losonczi, Kádár and Lékai.
On 20th of August, 1985 (the day of the Constitution) the TV broadcasted the one hour program "Fatherland". On the program appeared among others a chairman of a cooperative, a sportsman, an actor, Tibor Bartha calvinist bishop and Zoltán Káldy evangelist bishop. The program finished with the speach of Pál Losonczi, János Kádár and at the end: László Lékai.

The Pope appreciates the first decade of Lékai
The 50-years jubilee of Lékai, his golden mass, was held on 28th of October, 1984, in the Basilica of Esztergom. The Pope summed up the results of the last ten years of the primate:
The correspondence course of the Theological Academy, the house of preach-practices in Leányfalu, relegious instruction in parishes, the St. Hannah house of blind and handicapped children, a house being built for mentally handicapped children in Ipolytölgyes, a new convent being founded, 4 reconstructed churches in Budapest, the new church of Márkháza, the new Békásmegyer church under construction in Budapest, 7 new parishes in the country. (pastoral letter of Esztergom, 8th October, 1984).

14. Hungarian Base Communities

a.) The neccessity of the Base Communities is determined by history.
Organization in South America by bishops
The first Base Communities were started in South America in middle of 1950. From the beginning of 1960 they spread all over North America and Europe.
In 1971 courses were organized for bishops all over South America. These were followed by hundreds of courses for priests and leaders. In 1975 there were 40,000 Base Communities among the hundred millions of catholics of Brazil. (The statue of Brazilien priest Jose Marins in the concilium, April, 1975.)
Pope Paul VI.: The Base Communities are the hope of the Church. In the "Evangelii Nuntiandi", issued at the end of 1975, Pope Paul VI. sums up the experiences of the sinode. A long chapter describes the work of the Base Communities, calling them the "Hope of the Church": "The Base Communities will turn into schools of the Gospel and will serve the big communities, especially in certain parts of the Church". (The Council of Vatican 531.)

b.) Hungarian Base Communities in great strength
The Church presses the Base Communities underground.
The Hungarian Base Communities were formed inside the traditionally conservative Hungarian Church, under utmost anti-religious pressure of the political system. As the communists came to power, they liquidated the organizations of the Church. The organized forms of religious lifestyle turned illegal. Isolated communities based on personal acquaintance started to form. (László Kasza)
In the years 1947-52 the priests, lead by bishop Mihály Endrei, director of Actio Catolica and piarist Sándor Sik worked with Base Communities of the youth. Hundreds of priests were imprisoned for this after 1952. (The letter of "Bokor" communities to the bishops during the Lenten fast in 1977.)
The number of communities over one year old is estimated at 4-6 thousand with a number of members at about 70 thousand (an estimate from 1985). (Interview with Miklós Tomka p. 7).
Each group formed its own workstyle and mentality.

Regnum Communities
The association of priests named Regnum Marianum was founded in 1903 by Gusztáv Majláth, bishop of Transylvania, Ottokár Prohászka, who later became bishop of Székesfehérvár, and 12 theologists of Budapest. Their Church, built in 1931 on the edge of City Park was demolished in 1951 to make sufficient space for the big square for the official May-day marches (Sematismus, 309).
The theologists of Regnum dealt with the catholic pupils within the scope of the boy-scout organisations from 1913 on. After the liquidation of the church organisations in 1948, they continued their work with the boy-scouts. In 1965, groups for girls were formed. During the span from 1961-71, almost every Regnum priest was sentenced to a couple years in jail. Today over 30 young priests lead the groups of about one thousand young people of Regnum . A part of these deal, as leaders, with further groups totaling aproximately 5,000 young people. (Data from collectors, up to 1987.)

The Bokor
This group is also called the group of the "Bulányists", according to the name of their strong Piarist leader, György Bulányi.
In March 1945 the Croatian Jesuit, Kolakovics, came to Hungary to form the Hungarian Base Communities of the youth. József Mindszenty, at that time bishop of Veszprém, gave him permission to do so. Soon he consigned his community of six highschool students of Debrecen to the care of the university's priest, György Bulányi. This small community with its founding members still exists.
General idea from the Gospel: altruism in poverty and modesty.
The leading principles of the groups are: "Service" (to refuse power over other people), poverty (to aid poor people in Hungary and abroad, normally ten percent of the wages, 3 million forints per year to be sent abroad), and nonviolence (refusing any kind of military force). The members are expected to grow up as well prepared followers of Jesus, who can each organise their own group of 4-12 friends. During the meetings, everyone can express his opinion. During the common prayer everyone prays aloud as his turn comes. The more advanced can take part in the 5 years theological course of Bokor. About 78-80 spiritual exercises are organised every year by young people, and couples. In the last years, summer camps were organised for 6-14 year old children.
During the last years, about 25 leaders left Bokor. The number of leaders in 1989 was 185 (35 of them were priests). The members are about 2,000. (from the work of József Merza, Leltár, 15-17)

Fokolare communities
These were started by the Italian, Chiara Lubich, in 1944 with a community of seven members.
In Hungary they started to form in the middle of the seventies by priest leaders. The number of leaders is about 20-25. Their typical practice is called "word of life". Every month their life is organised around a certain verse of the Bible. Every year a six day long spiritual exercise is organised, with about 200 participants, in one of the catholic gymnasiums. The desire is to create communes with about 3-5 people living together. (from collectors up to 1987)

Carismatic communities
They are often called the "communities of the Holy Spirit". The formation of spiritual and praying communities is generally very fast in the world. They appeared in Hungary in 1974 and now they have about 10,000 catholic members. Some cathlics are members of more communities. (data from 1987)

Taizé communities
The oecumenic monk community of Taizé was founded by evangelist clergyman Roger Schutz in France, 1942. Now about 70 monks - protestants, catholics, buddhists Å form the community. Their aim is to get different christian masses together, aspiration to universal peace. Affection to Mary and rhw Eucharist is typical among them. Every week Å especially in summer Å thousands of young people take part in the spiritual exercises.
Young Hungarians, who visited Taizé, decided to create their own communities with the same spirit. The first communities were formed in 1980. In 1987 the grew to a few hundred.

Communities of the new Cathecism
They come from Spain, beginning in Hungary in 1985. Their groups of 20 persons live in strictly organised form. They participate in liturgies twice a week and in the eucharist every weekend. (from collectors)

The Hungarian ring
Communities of Hungarian Calvinists. Typical of them: experience with God, presence of the resurrected Jesus in the meetings, common studying of the Gospel. The optimal number of groups considered 12. They make different kinds of services to children, poor, handicapped; they often visit Hungarians in the neighbouring countries. (from the brochure "Hungarian Ring")

The Church hierarchy turned into the executive organ of the government

a.) Discrimination of the small communities
"The snake isn't tamer, but more lubricous" , as a leader of the Jesuits described the situation after 1976.
In the fifties the government fought against the Church with torture and jail. From 1976 the bishops turned to be the most important weapons against the Base Communities. Most of the bishops turned out to be weapons of the government, not by force, but by their own carrierism. (from a public letter of bokor, issued on 21 April,1991.)
The same conclusion could be made from a pastoral letter, issued at the same time. When Hungary signed the Helsinki Convention in 1975, direct actions against Churches were no longer possible. The government started to use the Church hierarchy for the same purpose. So the leaders of the Church transferred inconvenient priests to smaller villages "to avoid bigger problems".
In December 1976, 25 members of bokor were at audience with the primate. They stood for Base Communities, since even the Pope said they were the hope of the Church. Lékai answered that it is not true for Hungary, as the Base Communities are for the western world. Spiritual exercises won't be allowed in parishes.
In the following days, the passports of all the 25 persons Å including the author of this book Å were confiscated, because "their visit abroad might be dangerous for the state". (Ha)

The list of 120 "destructive" priests
After 1976 the government concentrated its power against the Base Communities. The AEH handed a list of 120 priests Å mainly the leaders of Base Communities Å to the bishops in the fall of 1976. In the opinion of the AEH, they were doing a harmful job within the communities. (László Kasza, Radio Free Europe)
On the conference of bishops in December 1976, Mihály Endrei, bishop of Vác said about the priests on the list: "but they are my best friends". Archbishop Ijjas mentioned that a few bishops protested against the list. Endrei and József Udvardy, bishop of Szeged, refused to accept the list.
Most of the listed priests were transferred to smaller places or received warnings. Those people now confronted not only the government, but also the leaders of the Church. Some of them emigrated or gave up their vocation as priests, one of them committed suicide.

Lékai bans the 10 day long spiritual exercises
In the winter of 1973, the parson who organised the ten day long spiritual exercises for priests (the author of this book), asked for the aid of three bishops in vain. In the end he turned to the conference of the bishops:
"I asked our bishops, with confidence, to help. In summer 1958 we gathered for spiritual exercises in the Benedictine monastery of Pannonhalma with the patronage of the governor of Esztergom, Mihály Endrei. Since then we met every year. For three years we had been the guests of the seminary of Eger. Those exercises were led Å among others Å by bishop Endrei, dr. Gellért Belon, dr József Takács. Every year 50-90 priests gathered from all over the country.
This year the governor's office answered my request that they could arrange exercises organised by the Church authorities. (Ha)" (the arch-abbot was under house-arrest)
The letter from the bishop of Pécs: "I mentioned your request in the conference. The reactions were diverse. They do not desire to help the exercises by urging the governors. I'll take upon myself to negotiate with Pannonhalma.
With affections, József Cserháti, bishop of Pécs".(Pécs, 16-th of March, 1973.)
At the audience in February, 1977 cardinal Lékai didn't permit the further organization of spiritual exercises as arranged every summer the previous 19 years. The official reason was that Bulányi also made such exercises. The organiser of the exercises answered: "The cardinal was misinformed. Bulányi only once made a contribution to a lecture in 1970." (Ha)

Misinformation of the Pope
In April 1977, the Hungarian bishops gathered in Rome for the usual ad limina visit to make report on the affairs in the dioceses. (András, 150)
What the Pope said about the Base Communities at this meeting was mainly negative, probably because he was influenced by the reports of Lékai. The communities despairingly received the condemnations which were addressed against them, indirectly by the Pope and the bishops, and directly by the government. Yet in spite of this they did not dissolve. (UKI, February, 1979)

Lékai divides: there are "good" and "bad" communities
Pope John Paul II sent a letter, Easter 1980, to the Hungarian catholics in which he declared that the Base Communities are important parts of the Church. In this situation Lékai had to give up his negative opinion. So he divided the communities into "good" and "bad". The good communities respect the hierarchy (as Regnum), the bad communities conflict with the bishops and refuse military service. (from an interview of Lékai to Il Regno, an Italian Communist newspaper)
From this moment, he turned his power mainly against the Bokor communities. This divided the priests even more, helping the AEH to control the Church.

b.) Suspension for a speech at a youth patronal festival in Hajós
In the middle of the Hungarian plain, in Hajós, the youth of the surrounding area gathered for the annual patronal festival of king Stephan. The events of the festival on 22 August, 1981 were memorable not only for the village. (Ha)

Events preceding the feast
Before Whitsun of 1981, the parson of the church at Kassa square invited priest László Kovács and his young friends to a tridium. In the meeting, Kovács proposed to participate in adoration on Saturday night. The parson agreed. Later Lékai asked by phone: "What kind of adoration is that? And why is Kovács in it, who proclaims protestant ideas?"
When Kovács heard about Lékai's opinion, he wanted to withdraw, but the parson said the event is already proclaimed and the secret police will also be there with cameras, recorders, etc. A lot of secret police employees lived in that district. So the tridium took place.

To kill the Church with our own hands is a treason
The governor of Budapest, Ignác Csepregi (in the following: I) called László Kovács (following: L). Their dialogue:
I: The AEH asked me to phone about the program of the Church in Thököly street.
L: If AEH and the secret police wants to kill our Church- it's their job. But if we kill the Church - it's a treason.
I: The leaders of the Church have another opinion.
L: Isn't Jesus the conscience for both of us?
I: We have our own conscience. From 400 priests of the diocese only 3 share your opinion. I'm sure you are afraid to lose your existence. How will you answer, when you meet Jesus?
L: Jesus didn't go to Pilate.
I: But he did!
L: Yes. He was dragged with a rope. But nobody drags you to AEH.
I: What about military service? Refusing military service is illegal.

We have to decide which law is ours
L: We have to decide, which law is ours. The Pax Christi- as it was written in the "Magyar Kurir"- speaks against any kind of violence. It is my right to think and talk as I want as long as I'm not suspended.
I: I've heard that you called the bishop's costume a red rag. You criticised the hiearchy.
L The last summit of the Church in Rome was against baroque ranks and costumes.
I: Sure enough, I remember how vain the priests were when I was aulist. (I. wore a wonderful black reverenda with purple buttons. L. wore a black costume with necktie).
L: I'm against vertical not horizontal hierarchy. "Don't call yourself lords, you are all brothers".

Why does it matter if the youth joins adoration instead of going to parties?
I: The youth are interested in romantic nights, not in religion.
L: Don't you think the masses at Easter and Christmas are also romantic nights? Why does it matter, if the youth joins the adoration instead of the parties?
I: (smiling) It's impossible to convince you. You are stubborn.
L. (also smiling)Is it possible to convince you? Anyway, you might convince me, but only with arguments. I ask you to leave people alone who have opinions different from yours. The establishments of the Church are problematic.
I: Yes indeed they are clumsy.
L: It's all rotten! I don't want to pull it down, but Å as the new Farkasrét Church was built Å to build a new one while the old is in tact. But you are killing the new.

You are betraying Jesus

The youth is the key of our church's future. The cardinal under-estimates their importance. He was against the three day festival at Kassa square. When the small guitar band of young catholics greeted him, he could only answer: I hope you didn't break your fingernails. If a communist leader meets the youth, he at least tries to say a few inspiring words. The youth were not angry with the cardinal, they simply felt sorry for him. But believe me, my anger is not against you, but for you. The Vatican urges the dialogue. If we can't agree, that will help the atheists (the cardinal didn't say a word to that). The old people will support you, but what will the future be?
I: I ask you not to organise anything at Whitsun.
L: If you hinder us, I will talk.
I: Why is it good for you, if you talk?
L: It's good for both of us. If the older generation can't help us to solve our problem, then I can at least inform the younger generation, so they can avoid their fathers's mistake. He glances on his watch). I'm sorry. I must go to a funeral.
I: I promise to discuss the problems in the future personally with you, and to ignore everything that other people say on this matter.
L: Thank you. That's correct. Forgive me if I said anything wrong.
The speech on the Siófok meeting of György Kocsi, a "Bokor" priest was banned by József Szendi, bishop of Veszprém, in the summer of 1981.
At the meeting at MáriagyÜd in June, 1981, the AEH. people didn't allow Béla Balás, a Regnum priest, make his speech. The guitar band of JenÛ Sillye wasn't allowed to play. (László Kovács)
The Speech of László Kovács on the festivál of Hajós

If you remain hypocrites, there won't be any religious life

We adults are hypocrites, opportunists, and in order to help you avoid our mistakes I'll tell you the background of this meeting.
Half a year ago I received an invitation to make a speech in this meeting. Two days ago the authorities ordered the bishop to ban my speech. I protest, and have two reasons for doing so: First, if the Church and the state are separate, how does the government dare to intrude into our affairs? I had permission to speak from both the government, and the Church. Why can't I speak now? How dare the government intrude into our life?
I must protest because the leaders of the Church are nothing more than executers of the government's will. Do you understand? If you remain such hypocrites, there won't be any religious life. I can understand when an atheist government tries to liquidate our Church, our religion. It's their job. But I cannot agree with the leaders of the Church who try to kill our religious community.
I protest against those activities made by the Church in these last months: Kassai square, Budapest; Thököly street, Budapest; Siófok; MáriagyÜd; and now Hajós.
Jesus didn't ask permission from Pilate, nor from Kaifas
Our Lord did not ask permission from Pilate, nor from Kaifas. He didn't ask permission from Kaifas to meet the people. The apostles didn't ask anyone for permission, they only followed Jesus. "We must talk about what we have seen and what we have heard", he said. They were ready to give their lives for that. If we are not like the apostles, but soft people, then our Church will die.
I would be contradicting myself if I did not speak frankly. This would mean that I deceive you.
Jesus was sent on his mission by the Lord. The Lord gave him courage to say what he said. Jesus gave the apostles courage to say what they said. If this is so, how dare some of our leaders decide what I should say? I cannot bear such a world, but can live only in a world where there is freedom to think and say what I want. The only Church I can bear is where Jesus is our only Lord.
Jesus and the apostles only listened to what Jesus and the people said. You are the only people, who are allowed to decide, whether I am allowed to speak or not.
We must not be cowards. I ask you to lift up your hands if you want me to speak. (Hands in the air) Thank you."
In the rest of his speech Kovács spoke about poverty and modesty, also mentioning the problem of military service. (László Kovács)
Consequences of the speech
The Church always taught that self-defence and force are justifiable
Two weeks after the events in Hajós, on the first Sunday of September, primate Lékai said in the Basilica of Esztergom: "Being the primate of the country I worry about the fact that some of our priests are susceptible to exaggerate, and incite our youth to refuse military service. These priests are dreamers, misleading the youth. Self-defence and force are justifiable.
This was always the point of view of the Church. To avoid war is an ideal solution, but we need a regulated force." (UE. 20th September 1981)
Three days after the speech, primate Lékai suspended László Kovács. It was a triple punishment: suspended as priest for half a year, expelled from Budapest and Esztergom, transferred to the parish of Márianosztra.
(from László Kovács)
"Kaplan predigt kontra Kardinal"
The next Sunday, András Gromon, chaplain of Pomáz tried to explain on the basis of the Gospel, the speech of the primate published in "Új Ember". Imre Kisberk, bishop of Székesfehérvár, suspended him for half a year and "interned" him to the home of his mother.
The Austrian Catholic periodical, "Die Furche" described the case sharply on the 6-th of January, 1982. The statute was called "Kaplan predigt kontra Kardinal"
The two suspended chaplains served out the sentences with good discipline. (from the two chaplains.)
In the fall of 1981 many people protested, personally or in letter form, to the cardinal. As a punishment for the letters, József Bánk, bishop of Vác sent his 51 year old chaplain into retirement, another chaplain was placed parson of a village. (from the two chaplains)
When their suspension had finished, Gromon and Kovács were placed in rural parishes.
The priests join forces against the efforts of the government
On the first anniversary of the events in Hajós the priests refused to concelebrate the mass with archbishop Paskai in the event that László Kovács could not join the mass. (László Kovács)
In 1983 archbishop Paskai Å probably under the pressure of the government Å wanted to replace the parson of Hajós. The priests of the diocese declared that they refuse to replace him. (from the priests)
c) The youth meeting in Nagymaros
Since 1970 there were christian youth meetings every fall and spring in Nagymaros, a town of the Danube bend.
Why did cardinal Lékai celebrate mass to the base communities
Easter 1980, the Pope sent a letter in both Italian and Hungarian to the Hungarian catholics. Cardinal Lékai ordered it to be retranslated in a sense which was against the base communities. However, under pressure from the Vatican, he had to publish the original text. Under these circumstances he accepted the invitation to Nagymaros in May, 1980. (Dignitatis Humanae committee, 1982)
Under the pressure of the base community priests, primate Lékai yields
Primate Lékai accepted the invitation for the spring meeting in 1981 too - on condition that the priests, with whom he should concelebrate, sign his theological notices. When the regnum priests refused to sign it, he gave up. (UKI, January, 1982)
Lékai managed to split the base communities in 1982
Dean Rédei told Bulányi just before the mass that the cardinal noticed that he and Kovács were present, and had declared that he refused to concelebrate with them. (Not long before this in a letter, the cardinal called Kovács his "brother László"). As a protest against such discrimination, many priests Å even from Regnum Å refused to concelebrate.
When the priests entered the church, a man shouted to the crowd: "Bulányi and Kovács are not allowed to concelebrate. Those, who do not agree with that, please join our prayers in the garden of the parish" (this man was a father of three children). About 40 people left the church.
The report of the Swiss news agency (KIPA) on the case made clear that there were tensions between some leaders of the Church and the base communities. Nagymaros was only an example of that. It was made clear for the first time that some small communities may leave the Catholic Church, meaning that the Catholic Church could lose its most active people. (László Kasza)
Four months later cardinal Lékai concelebrated together with László Kovács. (Ha)
d) Imprisonments for refusing military service
The ideals of the Gospel
Having examined the Gospel for years, the Bokor communities came to the conclusion that they must follow Jesus in refusing any kind of violence. For those Catholics it seems impossible to create a world according to the Gospel if they hold weapons in their hands and are ready to kill people.(Ha)
The case of the first Bokor member
The 47 year old mathematician, Dr. József Merza, father of four children, was a founding member of the first Bokor community formed in Debrecen. In 1979 he was summoned to the army. He refused military service, and therefore sentenced by a military court to 8 months imprisonment. In December his sentence was changed to a charge of 36.000,- Ft. The communities, even protestants helped him to collect the money. In May he refused to accept his military papers. For that he was charged once again for 10.000,- Ft . The career of the talented mathematician was broken, he could get a job only as a librarian. (Merza)
One point of the Constitution conflicts with the other
One of the many letters sent to several authorities is the letter of Gyula Simonyi jr., sent to state secretary Imre Miklós, chairman of AEH. "The 63-rd paragraph of our Constitution states the freedom of conscience and religion. At the same time, the 70-th paragraph contains compulsory military service. The two paragraphs conflict. One can either act against the order of our Lord or refuse military service. Imprisonment is the result of deciding to follow the order of our Lord. Yet if, under pressure, one decides for military service, it conflicts with one's conscience. (1-st of January, 1983)
From the answer of Imre Miklós:
The rules of the Roman Catholic Church allow armed military service. Those who say that they have the right to refuse military service on the basis of freedom of conscience are acting against their family and their countrymen. This position is a moral and political nonsense, since the Hungarian People's Army are defence forces and are not aimed against other countries (in 1968 the Hungarian Army moved into Czechoslovakia, Ha) . 4-th of February, 1983.
Gyula Simonyi jr, an engineer with three children, refused military service after he received Imre Miklós' letter. He was sentenced to 10 months of prison. He served his sentence in Baracska, together with his younger brother, Béla Simonyi, who refused military service 2 months after his wedding. 4 other Bokor members, 123 Witnesses of Jehova, 4 Baptists and a Nasarenian were kept in Baracska.
24 Bokor members in prison
Between 1979 and March 1989, 24 Bokor members choose jail instead of military service. This was usually 8-18 months of sentence added to the normal 18 months of military service. For all of them the general justification was that they were Catholics and the Catholic Church is not against weapons.
Most of them could not return to their jobs after serving out their sentences.
From November 1984, some women were enlisted - especially from the health service. 20 Bokor members refused. Four of them were charged for 500-1,000 Ft (mothers with 5 and 9 children were among them)
The declaration of the Bishops on military service
László Lékai died on 30 June 1986. The Episcopate remained loyal to the government, as the following declaration shows (excerpt):
The Hungarian Bishops were often accused, both here and abroad, for not taking care of those sentenced by law for refusing military service. It is often said that we avoid the decisions of the II. Vatican Council.
(The declaration quotes 12 pro-military service lines from the 79-th point of Gadium et Spes with many commentaries.) It is a result of an opinion of the Council that one cannot refuse or accuse military service. The aim of this service should be the lawful self defence of the people.
Some, according to their conscience, refuse military service. The document of the Council states: "It would be considerable that the laws would be tolerant to those who, owing to their conscience, refuse military service but are ready to serve in peaceful ways" (This is only 3 lines of quotation without commentaries from the Pastoral letter of 17 October and 2 November, 1986.)Some parts of this declaration were brought forward by the atheist press, but only Magyar Nemzet mentioned the sentence of the Vatican Council on freedom of conscience. (Ha)
The position of Bokor
We would like to reject the declaration of the Hungarian Episcopate, written against our church, and would like to express our solidarity with those who had to suffer in the past, suffer now, and will suffer in the future for being faithful to the order of Jesus: respect your enemies!
The novelty of the II. Vaticanum: the right to refuse armed military service
The declaration of the II. Vaticanum approves the rejection of military service. This was the decisive novelty of the declaration of the Vaticanum. It approved all who refused military service and demanded a humane solution from the governments. According to this, the declaration of the Hungarian Episcopate conflicted with the II. Vaticanum.
The appearance of the declaration of the Hungarian Episcopate caused problems for those who refused military service. Until then they could rely on the decision of the II. Vaticanum to protect themselves at the trials.
The first effects of the declaration of the Episcopate came soon. Two Catholics were sentenced directly when the declaration was issued. In this way, the bishops followed the policy of Lékai after his death.
The Ministry of Defence demands theologists to be fired
In February 1987, the AEH informed the Franciscan leaders that the Ministry of Defence demanded the dismissal of the Franciscan theologist Attila Tóth, who had recently been released from the army. The reason announced was that during his military service he had organised a small group of theology students who spent their time praying. (the real reason was that he refused to join the secret police.) Their answer was that Tóth could be dismissed only by the decision of the general in Rome.
In the middle of March, the chancellor of Esztergom ordered by phone that the leader of the Esztergom seminary dismiss Tóth as the Ministry of Defencehad demanded. The leader of the seminary refused. (Attila Tóth, theologist)
The result of the imprisonments: alternative military service.
In Vienna, February 1988, Imre Miklós announced in a press conference that alternative military service is being taken into consideration. (MK. 5-th of February)
On the 14th of March, Prime Minister Károly GrÛsz met Church leaders in the Houses of Parliament. Cardinal Paskai proposed the possiblity for the religious youth to choose alternative military service. (MK. 15 March, 1988)
In March, 1989, the Parliament voted for alternative military service. Serving time: the 12 months of normal military service + 6 months.
380,000 armed people in Hungary
After 1956 there were four armed forces in Hungary: 45,000 policemen, 75,000 worker's guards, 109,000 Hungarian soldiers and about 150,000 Soviet soldiers. (Ha)
At the same time there were 360,000 American soldiers in Europe. 630,000 Soviet soldiers posted outside the territory of the USSR.
In June, 1991 the last Soviet soldier left Hungary.
The Parliament liquidated the worker's guard in 1989. The Hungarian Army was reduced from 109,000 to 75,000. (Radio Kossuth, Budapest)
16. The Bulányi case
a) Questionings and sentences
The case of György Bulányi (1919-), Piarist teacher, should be described separately because after 1980, the attacks from the government and the hiearchy were aimed mainly against him and his communities.
From 1945 on, Bulányi was a teacher priest of the Debrecen University. He was active in organising base communities. In 1950 the government suspended him together with other priests. In 1952 he was sentenced to jail for life. After the amnesty of 1960 he worked ten years as an unskilled worker, then ten years as a technical interpreter. Meanwhile he organised his communities.
In 1981 and 1982 he was summoned by Primate Lékai twice for "dialogues" with four professors of theology.
"It is sad that in 1952 the atheist major who led my questionings when I was under arrest for 60 days in the _VH jail, had more respect to my person and my activity, than the professors during my dialogues". (the letter of Bulányi to Lékai, 7-th of March, 1982)
The sentence of Bulányi
On 9 1982, the conference of the Episcopate closed the case of Bulányi and handed it to the Congregation in Rome. Until their decision, the Episcopate suspended his right to work in public. (Pastoral letter, Esztergom, 24 August)
Several bishops prohibited their priests to contact Bulányi and his followers.
The AEH handed Lékai and other bishops a brochure of falsified works of Bulányi. He was sentenced upon that document by the Conference of Bishops and later in Rome. (Ha)
Attacks from the press
The campaign against Bulányi was made with great publicity. In the years between 1980 and 1987, 40 articles were published in the newspapers "Magyar Kurír" and in "Új Ember". The "Új Ember" brought the news of Bulányi's sentence before he was officially informed by the cardinal. (Ha)
b) The Casaroli letter and it's effect.
The fast and intensive preparation of the case.
Imre Miklós spent a week in Rome, March 1983. In April, Lékai and four bishops spent a longer time in Rome. Those negotiations resulted in the Casaroli letter. (MK, 28-th of March and 12-th of April, 1983.)
Archbishop Poggi handed the letter of Casaroli to Lékai on 4th of May. (UE, 22-th of May, 1983.)
The general idea of the Casaroli letter
Except for doctrinal questions, the Vatican approves the decisions of the Hungarian Episcopate concerning the base communities. The Episcopate should convince Bulányi and his followers to obey the Church. (UE, 22-th of May,1983)
The Casaroli letter does not explain what he means by "obey". Does it mean we can not make retreats in the parishes? Does it mean we can not refuse military service? (The letter of Bulányi to Cardinal Ratzinger, 4-th of April, 1986.)
The request to obey
In June 1983, the Episcopate tried to force the Bulányist priests to make promises to obey the Church. (Ha)
"Don't force me to accept Lékai's policy"
The following is the dialogue between the Cardinal (C) and László Kovács (L) at his questioning, made by a committee of three members.
L: In connection with the authorities I express my opinion once again that an apolitical attitude is what Jesus expects from us. Don't force me to accept the Pope's or Lékai's policy. If that is so, there would be a simple chain: the Pope obeys Jesus, the Cardinal obeys the Pope, I obey the Cardinal. But things do not work like that.
C:(to the two priests) He says I do what Imre Miklós commands.
L: In my opinion what Imre Miklós does is consistent with his principles: he's an atheist who wants to kill religion. I respect his struggle in which he relies even on our leaders Å of which I dissapprove. In my opinion the aims of an atheist government and of a priest, bishop, or Cardinal have to differ. A Cardinal must not serve an atheist government.
C: Thank you.
L: Don't mention it.
C: You don't understand the situation in which our Church is.
L: But I know the words of Jesus and that is enough.
C: (with anger) But you don't know about the decision of the II. Vaticanum. (he brings the book and reads aloud) According to point 76 of Gadium et Spes, the Churches should cooperate with the authorities of the state.
L: Cooperate with Imre Miklós in any case where it is not against Jesus, but refuse to do so when they demand something against Jesus' teachings, for instance, the refusal of His principle of respecting our enemies.
C: I protest against such words! (L spoke often with anger)
L: I protest in turn against the words you used in your last pastoral letter. Anyway, please forgive me for my words. Listen to what I say, don't mind how I say it.
C: I do mind how you say it.
L: Because you don't want to listen to my words. Our sin cannot be compared with those who kill. Would you go to jail like those young people?
C: Don't talk to me about jail. I was imprisoned twice. Once I was there when some people were taken for execution.
L: I don't know how and why you were imprisoned. Do you think because of your bad policy? If so, what do you intend now? To lock us up for our bad policy?
C: No. But don't expect that I'm going to try to set free those who are imprisoned for refusing military service. Your interpretation of the Catholic ideas is incorrect. (Long debate on armed and alternative military service) You say armed service is a sin even though the Vatican considers it permissible.
L: I have the right to choose between the two forms of service and to agitate for it.
C: And I have the right to ban this.(long debate)
L: Tell me what you will decide, I don't like this uncertainty.
C: You will see. But don't organise retreats on parishes and don't talk about military service in a non-Catholic sense on the big pilgrimages.
L: So you gave me the orders in word. Give it in written form.
C: I won't. Ask permission for retreats.
L: I ask now.
C: I refuse.
L: I won't take into consideration your orders if you don't give it in writing. You can't ban retreats. You should lead the struggle against violence, like the Episcopate of GDR.
C: I hope you'll calm down once. (László Kovács)
Punishments for organising retreats
The arcbishop of Vác, József Bánk made the following measures:
Endre Halász, 67 year old parson of Pécel: put on pension list for allowing the organisation of a retreat for about 100 young catholics in the parish Church. (Publik-Fórum, a West German Catholic newspaper, 8-th of July, 1983.)
The 63 year old parson of _csa was transferred to another parish in July,1983.
Three Bulányist parsons: Gyula Havasy, Imre Tarnai and László Kovács, who was suspended for half a year in 1982, were transferred, because they organised retreats in their parishes. (Publik-Forum, 7-th of October, 1983)
The border of our country is like a jail wall.Now the bishop closes my room
When the author of this book was transferred, it was written in his order that he could not invite guests to his parish, even for a few days, without permission.
From the response: "as I often explained to our Cardinal: I was taught that my home should be open to anyone. Until 1976 my superiors were satisfied with that. This new order changes everything and conflicts with my 40 year career as a priest.
I'm considered as a second class citizen of this country. Both of my passports have been withdrawn making the borders of the country my prison walls. Your order expands this punishment of our atheist government, since it divides my home from the congregation. To close my home from people who seek retreat is against my pledge of obedience to bishop Jusztinián Serédi. This breeds the fruits of atheism. (25-th of July, 1983.) The three priests appealed to the congregation. The main idea of this response was that the bishop has the right to transfer his priests. The third appeal wasn't even answered. (from the three priests)
The Piarist General accused
The Piarist General Angelus Ruiz said: Páter Bulányi serves well the regeneration of the Church I'm going to struggle to let him stay in Hungary. (Kathpress, 27 September, 1983)
Who gave publicity to the General's letter?
General Ruiz didn't keep anything a secret and gave His Excellency Poggi a copy of every letter he had sent or received from Bulányi.
He admitted that in his private letter to Bulányi, written in Latin, he gave a particular interpretation ("misinterpretation", as Lékai translated it in the Hungarian press) of the Casaroli letter. Acknowledging his mistake he apologized to Cardinal Casaroli.
But Bulányi didn't show the letter to anyone. This contradicts what Casaroli wrote to the General ("the letter has publicity"). Who gave publicity to the General's private letter? (from a declaration of Ruiz, Rome,17 January,1984.)
c) The Ratzinger letter
Three years after Bulányi was sentenced, in the summer of 1985, Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Theological Congregation, sent an inspector to Budapest. He settled a couple of questions in connection with Bulányi's two dissertations.
Correspondence between Ratzinger and Bulányi
At that time there was an intensive correspondence between Ratzinger and Bulányi. In his letters, Bulányi tried to answer the objections of Ratzinger.
"A priest from the western part of the world, who is much better informed than me, told once that if the Theological Congregation condemns Bulányi, then the same should be done with half the French Episcopate. I can state myself, from publications, that many professors of theology from various Catholic Universities share my opinion in the critical aspects .
Our small communities have the handicap of being surrounded by suspecting bishops. I can serve as a priest in the buildings of the Church anywhere in the world except Hungary. I was informed from official sources that the Vatican urges your letter. We will not be responsible for the scandal should your letter be published." (The letter of Bulányi to Ratzinger, 4-th of April, 1986.)
From the published letter of Ratzinger
"In your answer to our objections on your dissertation (the work "Order of the Church" written with typewriter) you say you didn't deny that there are differences between laymen and priests, that priests can celebrate mass, laymen not. Later you write that no one can celebrate mass without being ordained and that you follow this rule in your communities.
In the "Order of the Church" there are statements which are wrong, dangerous and could be misunderstood.
For example, there is a statement that anyone who leads a community is a priest, but if someone is only a member of the community, he is not a priest.
This definition of the priest doesn't say a word about the power of a priest, which they acquire from the Episcopate with their ordination .
Your proposition to ordain women priests is against the opinion of our Church. These aren't questions which could be discussed openly.
If you declare in public that you accept the opinion of the Church in the above mentioned points, your current position in the Church will be revised.
Joseph Card. Ratzinger prefekt." (UE, 17-th of June,1987)
The Hungarian communist press published the letter. One of them was "Magyarország", 16th August, 1987, with a circulation of 200,000.(Ha)
Ratzinger: the Communist Regime made Pressure on the Vatican
In summer, 1987, the Dutch theologist Schillebeeckx wrote a private letter to Ratzinger. In it he said he can't understand the declaration of Ratzinger on György Bulányi, published in June. It seems strange that the Theological Congregation spends its time with the perifery problem of Bulányi, at the same time not saying a word about the problems of the Dutch Kathekism or the anima separata opinion of Rahner.
In his answer Ratzinger says that the Dutch and German bishops didn't ask for processes against Dutch Kathekism and Rahner, but the Hungarian Episcopate asked for the condemnation of Bulányi. Ratzinger said that in the case of Bulányi, the Hungarian communist regime had put political pressure on the Vatican.
The interview of Paskai
Primate László Lékai died on 30th of June, 1986 at the age of 76. On 6th of March, 1987 the Pope nominated László Paskai, archbishop of Kalocsa, to be his successor.
Reporter: Is the Bulányi movement a part of the Catholic Church or a sect?
Paskai: The Bulányi movement tends to be a sect. This is a problem for us, and is harmful to the Catholic Church. Like every sect, this one also has a couple of fanatics who are moving far from the main ideology of the Church and, like every fanatic, resist any kind of authority or hierarchy. On the other hand, no society can exist without discipline.
R: How can the Church be reformed, more active?
P: I have to say that we could have been much more successful if fatal mistakes had not been made in the past. It is not true that the communists wanted to liquidate the Catholic Church after 1945. Party secretary Rákosi tried to establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican. If the primate of the time, József Mindszenty, had not miscalculated, everything would have happened otherwise. He thought the fall of the communist regime was only a question of time. Now we know that the primate was mistaken. For this mistake the Catholic Church had to pay a high price. We have lost almost all of our institutions, orders, and schools. All the changes were legalised by new laws. We are suffering from those mistakes even now.
R: How could this be worked off?
P: In past there was an undisguised hostility between the Church and the state. Then the period of co-existence came. At present we are in a period of cooperation. Both the Church and the state know that compromises alone serve them well. From this point of view I don't think the future of our Church is as hopeless as is the view oftenheld by Western critics. (The Austrian periodical "Wochenpresse",11/13 March, 1987)
Paskai gave this interview to the Western news agency Beko when he was arcbishop of Kalocsa. When on 6th March, 1987 he was appointed archbishop of Esztergom, "Wochenpresse" bought the interview from Beko. Paskai was warned by the Vatican for this interview. (from Western priests)
Four years later, in Esztergom, on 4th May 1991, at the ceremonial re-burial of Cardinal Mindszenty, Cardinal Paskai prayed as follows before three million Hungarian TV-spectators:
"Glorious God of the saints! Those who trust in You will not suffer humiliation, and those who loose their life for You will find it. Please, delight the Hungarian Catholic Church by keeping the memory and the example of the faithful pastor, Cardinal József Mindszenty alive. Let us reach eternal life by his mediation and let us glorify You forever and ever. Amen."
The wait-and-see policy of Paskai after 1989.
The letter of Bulányi to Paskai 20-th of April, 1989, Budapest
Your Eminency,
1. In the past half year we have sent four letters to settle the problems between the hierarchy and Bokor, without success.
Your Eminency sent me, with 14 months delay, on the 14-th of March, the Actus Adhaesionis which was sent to you by the Congregation in January, 1988.
2. The Congregation does not deal with a manuscript unless they are asked to do so. Otherwise they deal only with publications. Solely the Hungarian Episcopate requested this.
3. The Congregation criticized the books of several western theologists, but none of these were suspended. They were not suspended by their bishops even after they refused to sign the Actus Adhaesionis.
4. It is well known that the discriminative measures of the Episcopate in 1982 caused severe damages to the inner unity of our nations Church: causing a crisis in trust.
5. Your Eminency delayed the decision, saying that we must first settle our problems within the Congregation. That is not right. It was the Episcopate who, under pressure from our government, asked the congregation to examine my manuscript.
Praying for the settlement of our differences,
György Bulányi
In the summer of 1991, Ratzinger granted an appointment to Bulányi in the Vatican. However, no decision was made. Meanwhile the bishops elected István Seregély, archbishop of Eger, to be the head of the Episcopate, replacing Paskai. But nothing has changed.
It is frustrating that after the fall of the communist regime this case cannot be settled. In August 1991, during the visit of the Pope to Hungary there was one priest still suspended: György Bulányi. (Ha)
The Account of Four Decades
17. Hungarians: a self devastating nation.
It's not easy to estimate the changes in religious life during a generation of time. Information is not easy to find.
a) The decline of religion
Christianity in the years before 1948.
Christianity before 1948 was like a movement: the big actions, manifestations, and patronal festivals were important. 1930 was the St. Emery year, 1938 the year of Eucharistical Congress. The individual forms of religious life were declining.
Hungarian christianity gave up the traditional, feudal model and the more convenient urban model at the same time.
The reasons of religious decline.
a) The change in power. The devastating activity of the atheist-Marxist regime.
b) Social changes. The internal migration (35% of the population moved to towns) ruined the old human contacts
c)Education. The number of those who consider themselves religious declines among the uneducated, but increases among those who finished at least high school. A new form of intellectual religiousness was forming.
d) Changes in the family: they changed in size, structure and function. There are practically no young wives staying at home. 70% of women capable of work, are employed. (data: Rudolf Andorka,István Harcsa, Rózsa Kulcsár, Anna Martovicz: A társadalmi mobilitás alakulása és összefüggése a társadalom szerkezetével. MSZMP KB. Társadalomtudományi Intézete, Bp. 1979. IN. Tomka: Vallási változás, 264.)
e) The church structure is bureaucratic and people are consuumers of that.
Half the population considers itself religious.
According to a sociological study made in 1972, about 50% of the population, (5 million people) consider themselves religious, but only 55% belong to one of the historically established churches. This means that about 2 million people are "generally religious". (sociologists Csengey and Fazekas)
"The number of Catholics making contribution to the Church is over 3 million" (József Cserhát: A lelkipásztorkodás helyzete húsz évvel a zsinat után)
"Two thirds of those young people who have received no religious education baptise their children and hold their weddings in the churches.(József Lukács,(a Marxist ideologist) Szekularizáció és vallásosság a szocializmusban.)
In Budapest and industrial districts, 10-12% of those baptised receive the first sacrament. (Tomka: Szekularizáció)
Baptism and Church weddings are self comforting for many people (We believe in God!)
The religious life of the more educated gypsies is the same: they demand baptism, church weddings, funerals with ceremony but refuse a religious life. (Ha)
Among those who consider themselves religious, the amount of Catholics grows, while the amount of Calvinists, Evangelicals, and Jews falls. The small Churches (Baptists, Methodists, etc.) are strong because they have more priests, they have more children and many live in closer communities.
The average income of the non-religious is 15% higher than that of the religious. (Tomkai: Szekularizáció)
In ten years the number of people attending masses decreased in Budapest by 19%. The number of people, taking Holy Communion, increased.
In nine Parishes of Budapest:
2441 Baptisms, 1236 weddings, 2425 funerals in 1971
1482 Baptisms, 474 weddings, 2717 funerals in 1981
The number of active Catholic youth has fallen from 1 million to 6,000
In 1947, 200,000 young people received religious instruction in schools and 800,000 in unions: that was altogether one million. After four decades the number of active Catholic youth is 6,000.
In 1983 there were 1,354,600 young people between the ages of 15-24 in 96 towns and 3,000 villages of Hungary. A study examined the situation of 694,200 young people from 55 towns. Only 6,000 of them had any kind of active contact with the Church. Among the towns 55 were seats of Dioceses.
In Budapest 3,900 active Catholic young people were founded, including two Catholic Gymnasiums and the Seminary. That is 0.86%.
There were 800 active Calvinists and 480 active Evangelical young people in the country. (Data from the Census of 1980, volume 28, page 826.)
b) The youth under pressure of compulsory atheism.
The responsibility of the Catholics
There are several reasons for young people to turn atheist: no religious knowledge, morals, no models, the lack of warm family and community atmosphere.(Ha)
"Sometimes even the religious people are to blame, and can have a significant role in promoting atheism. They cover the real face of religion. They take no care for religious instruction. Misinterpretation of religious ideas...Their life can't be a model from a religious, ethical or social point of view. The antidote of atheism should be the proper way of life of the church and religious people." (Gadium et Spes, 19,21, II. Vaticanum, 456-7) The families are not really families. The children know the religious conviction of their parents, but see their lives conflicting with these convictions.
The church is also to blame: it shows a false picture of itself. The activity of the Church is limited more or less by liturgy. The Church isn't really present in society. This confuses the people. They see the Church on celebrations but not on workdays. The power of the hierarchy dominates the Church institutions. The confused communities create confused people. (Richárd Korzenszky, Benedictine director of Pannonhalma: KettÛs nevelés, Mozgó Világ, September,1983)
The Monopoly of Atheism
The realisation of the atheist propaganda was not in the hand of the party, but in the hand of the state. "The youth is ours", they said. The christian parents can't avoid the atheist education of their children. The socialist way of freedom of religion is in fact the freedom of atheist education. (András, 154-5)
"Todays youth has no past, no self-conscience, no consciousness of continuity, no values and norms, no political culture and no ideology" (Elemér Hankiss: Társadalmi problémák és a mai iskola. periodical "Köznevelés", 24-th of June, 1983)
The main value of Socialist ethics is "Social Progress"
"The main value of Socialist ethics is social progress. Everything is ethical which serves the progress of society and people. The religious ethics certainly contain general ethics: respect to parents, the ban of murder, charity, etc. But religious ethics are class ethics... They serve the oppressing classes. Religious ethics are unacceptable in socialism. The religious ethics are opium." (Földi, 57)
Under what circumstances can we kill our mother?
In the ethical text book of high schools and universities, published in 1978, it is written: "One can't kill his own mother, except the case when she betrays her social class." How serious a betrayal can force us to kill our mother? Can, for instance, a child, belonging to the aristocracy, kill her mother because she helps the oppressed classes, the revolutionaries? (Élet és irodalom, 20-th of January, 1979)
Brown, green, red, pink ideologies in half a century
The ideological compass of the individual follows the direct line of the ideologies of family, school, society, and country. If the direction dominated by the strongest ideologies of the day often changes, people can easily get lost. During the last half century, the compass of my generation was forced to follow the brown (Nazi), green (arrow cross), red (communists), pink etc. directions. Lately it seems that we don't follow any direction at all. That is also dangerous. (Academic István Gyarmati, 542)
The state offers sexual freedom
The culture based on religious ethics has vanished. The traditional values were dissolved with force in the forties and fifties. In the sixties society was rearranged. Most people lost contact with their traditional community, the old values were also lost, new values were not formed.
In the sixties contraceptives spread widely. This made it possible to separate sex from the act of begetting. A new value appeared: the joy of sex. For young people now, sex is something where everything is allowed. That's extremely dangerous. (Sándor Heleszta, sociologist: Beszélgetés a nemek kapcsolatáról.Élet és Irodalom)
Postcards, posters in the nude
From December, 1983, posters and postcards illustrating women in nude are available to children. (UE. 18-th of December,1983)
"Ifjusági Magazin" (youth periodical) was the only newspaper for the 14-18 year old generation. It was published with a circulation of a few hundred thousand every week. 40% of the pages of IM are on Rock music with big photos. The newspaper of the Rock generation!
The titles of the constant sex columns are: "one or I don't care how many" ,"How I lost my virginity". The column cites from letters of 14-15 year old girls. From the answers: "Don't think virginity is a value". Many people consider IM as pornographic. For this reason it was banned from Czechoslovakia, where a lot of Hungarian newspapers are available. (Gyula Fekete: Szennyezett források)
TV, cinemas, theatres pour intimate situations
One can hear extremly rude words in Hungarian theatres.
In the spring of 1983, 8 year old village boys and girls decribed to me the oral sex watched on TV the previous day. (Ha)
There are workmen's hostels, student hostels, where boys and girls share their bed and bath after returning drunken from disco, 2-3 am.
The same happens sometimes in workcamps of KISZ (Communist Youth Organisation), and even in pioneer rest-houses. (From students)
Consequences of sexual freedom
Reason for 30% of divorces: sexual contact before marriage
55% of the brides under 19 years are pregnant and from these, 30% of those who later divorce, called this the reason for the divorce.(UE., 9-th of March,1983)
38.6% of the 20-24 year old brides are pregnant. Of these, 33% of the divorced use it as the reason for divorce. In ten years the number of divorced under the age of 30 increased by 60%.(Oktatás, MÜvelÛdés 1950-1980. A lecture of Béla Batás)
300,000 endangered children
More than 46,000 children are brought up by the state. But the number of "endangered" children (children in abnormal family conditions) is estimated 300,000. (Mozgó Világ, October, 1982)
In 1981, juvenile delinquentcriminals commited 32% of robberies, and 22% of the muggings (Házi Jogtanácsadó, 5 November,1982)
According to a research, conducted by the Ministry of Justice in 1982, 67% of the juvenile delinquents were brought up in families. That's an extraordinary proof of the crisis of family life. (UE, 9-th of March, 1983)
The number of priests was halved in 35 years.
The decrease in the years 1950-1983
The Catholic Church had a large number of priests after the war. There was more than one priests for every 1200 religious Catholics. The age of the priests was normal.(UKI, January 1982)
In 1950 there were 3582 diocese priests, 1521 monk priests, altogether 5103.
In 1950 5103 priests
in 1983 2564 priests, half of them under age 35
in 2000 1650 priests, one third of them under 50
(Tomka: Vallás szerepe)
The three historical Churches
1950 1983 difference
Catholic priests 5103 2564 50%
Calvinist clergymen approx. 2100 1200 35%
Evangelian Clergymen approx. 300 300 0%
(Református Címtár, 1983)
Priests getting old
The number of priests is less by 80 every year. In 1983 half the priests were over 60 years old. (Nyíri: Christ sein, 84)
The data from the Esztergom diocese is interesting:
435 Priests in 1983. 46 of them emigrated and serve abroad. 53 are on pension list, 13 are out of service, 20 were married after 1970. So 303 of them are active in Hungary. (Sematizmus, 415.)
The proportion of Roman Catholic and Uniate priests
In 1984 there were 2356 Roman Catholic priests, 171 Uniate, total: 2527
In 2000 will be 1350 Roman Catholic priests, 300 Uniate, total:1650
(Heller, Tomka 218-9)
190 of the 208 Uniate priests are married. (Data from a Uniate priest in 1983)
There are 3520 churches and chapels on the territory of 11 dioceses. (András-Morell, 106)
In 1991 a Catholic parson served at 3-4 parishes. At the same time each of the 300-400 of the Uniate parishes have their parson.
The replacement of priests fell to one seventh
In 1948 there were 1100 diocesans, and 700 monks, altogether 1800.
In 1984 the respective numbers were 189, 54, altogether 243.
(Heller, Tomka:219)
The number of Uniate theologists grows
In 1983 there were 230 resident theologists in the six seminaries of the country, 33 of them were Uniate.
The Uniates have 7-8 times more theologists than the Roman Catholics: 33 Uniate theologists for 30,000 members of the Church, while the Roman Catholics have 200 theologists for 7 million people. So all the 149 Uniate parishes will have their parsons in the future as well, while about the half of the 2,312 Roman Catholic parishes will be vacant. Most of our Roman Catholic priests are antifeminists.(Nyíri: Christ Sein, 84)
In the 1985-86 school year of the Academy of Theology, Budapest, there were 6 seminary students, 9 normal students and 11 women in the first year. There were 6 women in the second year and about seven in the higher semesters. (from students)
More ordinations in Transylvania than Hungary
There were no ordinations in Kalocsa for years. In 1981, in the Esztergom diocese, 21 priests died, 5 were ordained. In 1986 -for the first time since the Turkish invasion Å no priests were ordained. (Sematizmus, Almanach)
In June, 1982, the total number of newly ordained priests was the same as in Gyulafehérvár (town Alba Julia, Rumania). This number is the same in the following years, sometimes there were even more in Transylvania.
A priest is ordained by his bishop only if he refuses the base community he came from. (UKI, I, 1982)
Correspondance Course of Theology
A correspondance course of the Academy of Theology, Budapest, began in 1978. In the last years about 1,000 persons applied for the course, the number of students in 1984 was 500. The course is 3 years long, with certification as a theology instructor. The course is maintained by the students. (Nyíri: Christ sein, 85)
Correspondance courses are in other places too. The course in Szeged is run by the diocese. Several courses are run by the base communities.(Ha)
d) Themoral sinking of the Nation
The atheist regime in Hungary achieved in 40 years what centuries of devastation could not achieve: suicides, abortions, divorces, alcoholism. The Hungarian Nation is killing itself.(Ha)
Hungary is the world leader in suicide
Every year 46 out of 100,000 Hungarians commit suicide, altogether 5,000 people. That is the highest number in the world. (UE, 17-th of April, 1983)
The second nation on the list is Austria, with half that number (23). (medical statistics)
40-50 suicides every day, 15 of them mortal
In 1983 there were 15 mortal suicides every day. That is 5,500 people in a year. The number of attempted suicides or suicides disguised as accident are much higher. (TV news, Budapest, 23-rd October, 1983.)
36% of the registered suicides are committed by people under 30. The majority are women.(Egészségügyi Minisztérium Évkönyve,1980, page 227)
5 million people killed by abortion in 25 years.
Third in the world in Abortion
Hungary is the country third highest in quantity of abortions, after the USA and USSR. That means about 200,000 abortions every year.
There were about 100-200,000 abortions and 140-150,000 births every year from 1960 until 1980. Then the abortions fell to 75-80,000, because 5 kinds of pills were invented in 1975. (Sociologist Bágyoni, 226.)
In the last 25 years, a minimum of 5 million little Hungarians were killed by abortion. (Four and a half million were acknowledged by Radio Kossuth at the end of 1989.) During the 150 years of Turkish occupation, between one and a half and two million were killed or captured. So in the last 25 year we had 3 Turkish invasions! (Ha)
In the beginning of the century, there were 35-40 births every year per 1,000 persons.
In the years before 1945, there were 18-20, in 1982 Å only 12. That is the lowest number in Europe!
Buying cars, estates, travelling abroad makes more than two children inconvenient. Parents with more children are often despised.
6-10 children are in 33% of the families in 1930,
5% of the families in 1970.
2 children are in 13% of the families in 1930,
33% of the families in 1970.
1 child is in 10% of the families in 1930,
22% of the families in 1970.
(Földi, 82-85)
From 1850 until 1950, the population of the recent territory of Hungary doubled: from 5 million it has risen to 10 million.
In 1925-38, in the years of economic crisis, the population grew to700,000.
The population decreases!
In 1984 the population decreased by 21,000.
In 1989 it decreased by 40,000.
Forecast: in 1996 there will be 340,000 less Hungarians than in 1981. At the same time the population of the surrounding Slavonic and Rumanian nations will increase by 7 million.
The Nation turned Cannibal
We have become a self-murdering nation. We kill our children, we cripple one third of the mothers. The pampered only-childs are often the "hope" of the future. The consumer type family has two children. When a mother is pregnant with the third child, the doctor automatically asks whether two isn't enough. A family with three children is considered "big". (Data:Népességtudományi Intézet Közlönye, Magyarország népessége 1980-2021 között,Bp, 1980; Statisztikai évkönyv, Bp. 1981.
The situation of the gypsies
We have to mention them in connection with abortion and demography.(Ha)
The census of 1873 mentions 50,000 gypsies, in 1976 that number is 360,000. So the number of gipsys rose 8 times, while the number of Hungarians 2 times. (Csalog, 225). In the years between 1965 and 1980, the growth of the gipsy population was twice that of the Hungarian. 1,000 gipsy mothers have 32 newborns, while the Hungarians have 15. (Várnagy, 69.)
It is estimated that at the end of the century there will be 700,000 gypsies and only 9.5 million Hungarians. (TV, 14-th January, 1990)
Hungarian gypsies
Escaping from the Turks, they arrived in Hungary 600 years ago. In 1971 they were 225,000. Only a few of them speak the "Romugro" dialect. Because of their lousy family life and Hungarian language, they soon accepted some bad habits of Hungarians. There are twice as many Hungarian gypsies asking for abortion as Hungarians.
The Oláh gypsies
They live in Hungary since 1870. There were 62,000 of them in 1971. They cling to their "Lóvári" dialect and costume. Their big families led by the grandfather are very close. There are no abortions among them!
Romanian gypsies
They speak Romanian. They live in Hungary since the second half of the last century. In 1971 there were 26,000. They work in agriculture. The centuries of slavery made them gentle, taciturn, hard working honest people. (Vekerdi, 16)
Vend gypsies
They fled to western Hungary in the years before 1945. Only a few thousand speak their dialect.
The promotion of the gypsies
The state and the society didn't help them much to achieve a more human living in the years before 1945.
From 1960 the government made big efforts to promote them and to integrate them into Hungarian society (compulsory elementary school, jobs, housing loans)
An intellectual of gipsy origin said: "I can count on my fingers those gypsies who finished high school or university" (Radio Kossuth, 14-th of January, 1990.
Their religious life
Most of the gypsies baptise their children as Catholiics. Many of the Calvinist gypsies live in the district of Debrecen. They cling to baptism, weddings, and funerals with ceremony. The small churches (Methodists) are doing well with them.
One third Divorces among families
Hungary is third in the world by number of divorces, after the U.S.A and U.S.S.R. (Ha)
In 1941 there were 107,000 weddings, 12,000 divorces
In 1983 there were 76,000 weddings, 27,000 divorces
In the last decade almost every second marriage ended with divorce. It came into fashion for couples to live together, without marriage. That is the moral of the rock generation. At the same time the bigger part of the Catholic couples seem to be faithful.
The reason for mass divorce is simply bad manners. Many teenagers never learned how to live with each other, the couples have no positive models, and don't care about their self education. (Ha)
Half a million Alcoholics
The half million alcoholics make life unbearable for at least another half a million. 50 billion forints were spent on alcohol in 1984. (Béla Balás)
Hungarians are world leaders in high concentration alcohol.
For ten years alcohol consumption was tripled: 87 liters beer, 10 liters concentrate. (Hungarian Statistical Handbook, page 48.)
Alcohol expenses in 1975: 2856 Ft per capita. Average wages: 3-4000 Ft per month.
According to an inquiry in 1981, most schools had a significant consumption of alcohol and drugs. (UE, 9-th of March, 1983)
The number of narcotics increases by 30,000 every year
From a report of the "Blue light" (TV program on crime) Hungarian TV, 12th of April, 1985
Only a small part of drug crime is known by the police. The drug pills are usually consumed at public concerts by groups of young people. (Béla Balás)
15% of the patients in the psychiatrical welfare centres, are under 30 years, in 1980 there were 15,700 of them. One fourth of the neurotics are young. (Egészségügyi Minisztérium Évkönyve 1980, page 227)

The nation is getting old
Every fifth Hungarian is of pension age
In a hundred years, the population doubled, the number of people over 50 became five times more, but the number of people under 14 remained almost the same. (Deeken, 8.)
There were 100 children (under 15 years) to 14 old people in 1870. In 2000 this proportion will be, respectively 100:103. (András Klinger)
4 million smokers
In medicine consumption, Hungary was the leader in 1970, then came Great Britain, Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
Every second man dies from heart or arterial diseases, every tenth from heart attacks. The main reason is that there are 4 million smokers. (Bágyoni, 207, 183-185)
Cure for the diseases of the Hungarian society
In the last four decades, the Bokor movement found the following way to cure those problems:
1. Families should live in a modest way on the wage of the father. At least four children in a family would be needed. 3 children do not increase the population, only two children is devastating. There are often 5-7, sometimes even 9 children in Bokor families. Mothers stay at home with their children.
2. The families or the singles ought to send 10% of their income to the poor of the third world. That serves mankind in accordance with the Gospel, liquidates the egoism of both families and individuals.
3. The Bokor started its first small steps towards helping alcoholics.
4. Nowadays, the main reason for famine in poor countries is the arms race. Bokor is against that.
5. Little communities of about 12 persons help people accept the norms of the Gospel concerning human relationship. Now in Hungary there are 7,000 Catholics to one priest. But one priest can not take care of 7,000 people. One thousand pastors with three thousand co-workers can not bring back millions of lost lambs. Only the program, described above, offers a solution to the millions of Hungarians who have lost touch with the Church.
In the times when the Church still remembered the example of Jesus, who organised his group of 12, the number of christians grew with incredible speed. In the Roman empire, the number of religious christians doubled with every generation and in 300 years reached 5 million. (According to the ideas of Bulányi)
Dear reader in the world, You learned on the pages of this document about the faith of a small nation in 45 years. If you began to feel sympathy to the Hungarian Nation, this book has accomplished its mission.
Gyula Havasy
H-2524 Nagysáp, Hungary-Europe