Europe shows her real face
Fr Marek Luczak
The European structures are said to be at least indifferent towards Christianity, even if not hostile. Therefore, we should admire the Hungarians who began EU presidency in January by organising an ecumenical service and ended presidency by making a pilgrimage to Jasna Gora.
During their national pilgrimage the Hungarians transferred to Poland presidency in the European Union in a symbolic way. On 28 June the pilgrims arrived in Krakow where they participated in Mass in St Mary’s Basilica and laid wreaths at the tombs of Saint Queen Jadwiga and Stefan Batory in the Wawel Cathedral. They also visited Jasna Gora and Stary Sacz, which are the places of worship uniting Poles and Hungarians.
‘The pilgrimage was connected with the transfer of presidency in the EU and the thing is to show Europe that our community is built on spiritual foundations. I hope that Poland will take over the lead in the relay race of faithfulness to the Christian values,’ stressed the main organiser of the pilgrimage Mr László Budai, an alderman from Szigetszentmiklós and the chairman of the commission of culture and media in the local government.
As the organisers stress the Hungarians came to Poland with the hope that Warsaw as the head of the EU presidency would continue the work of Budapest: to show Europe her real, spiritual foundation and faithfulness to the Christian values.
The main patron of this undertaking is Dr. Kövér László, the Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament. The pilgrims were led by the Hungarian bishops: János Székely of the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest (Hungary), József Tamás, from the Archdiocese of Alba Iulia in Transylvania, Romania, and Antal Majnek from the Diocese of Mukachevo, Transcarpathian Ukraine, and Fr Bátor Botond, superior of the Hungarian Province of the Pauline Fathers.
The meaningful thing is that after Hungary had taken over the EU residency one of the first events was a meeting between Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his government and the Conference of European Churches (CEC). According to Rev. Prof. Piotr Mazurkiewicz, General Secretary of COMECE, when we speak about the Hungarian government we think about a government that has a clearly Christian face. ‘Currently, Christian Democrats govern most European countries but these parties are rather Christian by name and do not follow the Christian values,’ he says. ‘As for the Hungarian government it is not only the name but also the Christian content of politics that the government is trying to exercise.’
Therefore, there were hopes that in this context Hungary would stress the concern about the demographic future of Europe, the way of thinking about marriage and family based on a relationship between a man and a woman as well as the significance of dialogue with the Churches and religions on the basis of Article 17 of the Treaty of Lisbon.
Another issue, which Hungary was expected to support, was freedom of religion and the persecutions of Christians. Undoubtedly, the Hungarian presidency deepened the sensitivity of European politicians to the problem of the persecutions of Christ’s followers, which also happened in the countries neighbouring the EU. In effect, many politicians became aware of the persecutions. Now we need concrete initiatives and political decisions. In the opinion of Rev. Prof. Mazurkiewicz the Hungarian presidency was open and active in these matters.
A politician of conscience
We would not have had such a good example of Hungary if the country did not have Viktor Orbán, current Prime Minister. He was born in Székesfehérvár on 31 May 1963. He is a lawyer. In the period of real socialism he was active in the anti-communist opposition. On 16 June 1989, at Heroes Square in Budapest, during the reburial of the heroes of the Uprising 1956, he delivered a speech in which he, as the first politician, publicly demanded withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Hungary and conducting free elections.
‘A Christian politician should prefer the truth to his election success,’ he said in Poland several years ago. ‘The truth is beyond any discussion but it is not always supported by the majority,’ Orban stated. At the same time the head of the Hungarian government claimed that Christian politicians had to try to convince voters to the ideas they proclaimed. ‘We must work to gain the majority in supporting the truth,’ Orbán argued. The conception of Europe, formulated, which is interesting, by a Protestant politician, is remarkable. The leader of the right-wing movement FIDESZ challenged Christian politicians of unifying Europe to fight against moral relativism. ‘Our continent must remain Europe based on Christian values. If our Christianity remains strong it can fight against relativism effectively,’ Orbán stated.
Therefore, it was good that before Poland took over presidency we had had to do with the Hungarian type of politics. The lack of inferiority complexes of Christian politicians should at least make our authorities think about it.
Based on my own information and the news of KAI and BPJG