Bishop Béla Balás’s vision of an Islamic Europe

My first surprise was that there is a Bishop of Kaposvár. My second surprise came when I read what he had to say about the bloody future of Europe as a result of the Islamic “invasion.” So I began learning about the bishopric of Kaposvár and Bishop Béla Balás.

The bishopric was the creation of Pope John Paul II. In 1993 it was carved out of the two historical bishoprics of Veszprém and Pécs, both established in 1009 by St. Stephen. Its first and only bishop so far is Béla Balás, who is now 74 years old. For some reason his nickname is “Father Concrete,” as in reinforced concrete.

Balas BelaHe is known to be an outspoken, sometimes a bit rough around the edges kind of man who has decided that members of clergy should play an active part in politics. Initially, he was involved only in local politics and not necessarily always on the side of Fidesz, but as time went by he got closer and closer to Fidesz and personally to Viktor Orbán, whose picture adorns his study. The friendship goes back to the early years of the 21st century when he organized a meeting with Orbán, during which he and Zoltán Balog as a Hungarian reformed minister kept asking the politician about his faith. Balás most likely was satisfied with Orbán’s answers because he gave him a crosier, perhaps as a symbol of his leadership blessed by the Church.

Tolerance is not exactly Bishop Balás’s strength. His total devotion to Viktor Orbán’s illiberal democracy is combined with his conviction that “alien elements are trying to force us to our knees.” It is therefore not surprising that Béla Balás belongs to a small group of high clergymen who have voiced their opposition to Pope Francis’s ideas on the issue of the asylum seekers. The first Hungarian bishop to express his disagreement with the Pope was László Kiss-Rigó. He openly accused the Pope of not being familiar with the real situation–unlike Viktor Orbán, who fully understands the dangers of an Islamic invasion of Europe. In addition to Kiss-Rigó, a couple of other lesser known church leaders spoke out in defense of European culture. But the real bombshell came a few days ago from Béla Balás.

Balás disseminated the fruits of his “literary imagination,” which at least one media outlet called the creation of someone who had drunk a little too much wine during mass. Balás gave the following title to his apocalyptic description of the future as a result of the Islamic immigration into the European Union: “Evening News from the European Caliphate at the Time of the First Century after Christendom.” And here’s how it starts. “Yesterday we blew up the Cologne Cathedral. Next week we will start dismantling the Eiffel Tower. Apparently some Taizé monks are hiding in the few remaining Romanian churches…. In Nuremberg the trial of the prime ministers is coming to an end. The execution of the accused will be public and attendance free. We hope the true believers will have a great time! In Leipzig they are collecting sheet music for a campfire at full moon. Bach and Mozart preferred.” And on it goes. In the last sentence the terrorists take off the red shoes of the pope (well, not this pope who doesn’t wear them, so I guess the caliphate will take a while to be established) before they shoot him and throw his body into the Tiber.

444.hu called the piece gonzo journalism, which dictionary.com defines as a piece of writing “filled with bizarre or subjective ideas, commentary.” It can also mean crazy, eccentric. One thing is sure: Balás seems to know little about Muslim countries. He talks about horses, tents, horses, sabers. As László Szily of 444.hu rightly points out, Bishop Balás got stuck in his childhood when he read Géza Gárdonyi’s historical novel about the defense of the Fortress of Eger. (Gárdonyi’s Eclipse of the Crescent Moon, in Hungarian simply The Stars of Eger, is a favorite book of Hungarians. It is read mostly by impressionable teenagers whose understanding of the Turkish times in Hungary is largely shaped by this novel, which naturally is not quite accurate historically.)

I’m just hoping that not too many people read this piece of nonsense by the Bishop of Kaposvár, which appeared only in the print edition of Heti Válasz. Viktor Orbán’s frightening propaganda did enough damage by stirring up Hungarian xenophobia. Speaking of xenophobia, I read somewhere that what Europeans call xenophobia we in North America call racism. This is something to think about. Viktor Orbán doesn’t consider other Europeans a danger to the safety of Hungarians, only people who come from outside of Europe. And Péter Boross, the former prime minister, made openly racist remarks in one of his many unfortunate interviews.

Both Kiss-Rigó and Balás are loyal supporters of Viktor Orbán. In Kiss-Rigó’s case, even at the expense of Pope Francis. Rumor has it that some of his fellow bishops wouldn’t mind at all if the Vatican forced Kiss-Rigó to retire because, in addition to his politics, there are serious questions about his diocese’s finances. As for Balás, apparently his brusque manner and outspokenness don’t sit well with his fellow bishops. Perhaps through attrition Pope Francis will be able to find less reactionary priests to lead the Hungarian Catholic Church.

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Observer
Guest

Both catholic and protestant (Reformatus) churches in Hungary have been well involved in politics, since democracy made this safe. Both harboured distrust and dislike for the nacent democracy and for the progressive left, who kept the state secular.
Enter our small Fidesz villan, who put on a christian hat, among many others, and went on to offer substantial gifts to the readily corruptible church leaders.
These churches campaign from the pulpits, but hide behind the cross and cry foul when treated like politicians. In view of their attitude toward the weak and poor, I.e. their only nominal charity and care, i have nothing positive to say about them. A priest a day keeps the faith away.

Lutra lutra
Guest

It’s nothing new. Over a century ago, when Catholics were discrimnated against in many coutries and the reformed church and the Catholic church were locked in competition for the souls (and money) of the faithful, in Hungary they were allied against the secular world, liberalism and the Jews. That state of affairs continued right up til 1945. Viva la contra-revolucion!

JGrant
Guest

Dear Observer
I have been reading HS for years now, but it was today, just now, while reading your above contribution that I felt that I found a like-minded soul. Thanks for your down to earth, sharp and to the point comments. May many more people do likewise!

Observer
Guest

Tnx for the kind mention. But since I live in Hungary at present it is not a very uplifting experience. It makes it even worse that I foresaw/foresee most of these developments, then they were brought about, so it pained twice.
PS. I have been an observer of politics, with minor participation, for 40 years.

Hmm... Ndy
Guest

Friar Tuck

Zorgas
Guest
“Speaking of xenophobia, I read somewhere that what Europeans call xenophobia we in North America call racism. This is something to think about.” I think both Europeans and Americans make a similar distinction between racism and xenophobia. As stated in the below-linked UNESCO document: “Xenophobia and racism often overlap, but are distinct phenomena. Whereas racism usually entails distinction based on physical characteristic differences, such as skin colour, hair type, facial features, etc, xenophobia implies behaviour based on the idea that the other is foreign to or originates from outside the community or nation.” (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/international-migration/glossary/xenophobia/) When Viktor Orban banned the Identitarian National Policy Institute Congress in Budapest last year, Hungarian media described the NPI as “racist” (fajvédő) and published the government’s statement that the Hungarian government clearly dissociates itself from all xenophobic (idegengyűlölő), exclusionary extremist groups…” http://www.vg.hu/kozelet/kozeleti-hirek/orban-viktor-utasitast-adott-a-fajvedo-konferencia-betiltasara-436236 I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s probably more likely that this conference was banned not because Fidesz actually dissociated itself from the Identitarian message, but because it in fact so clearly did identify with the message that it would not have been able to argue against it if the congress had taken place. The following video from the NPI could have been issued by… Read more »
exTor
Guest

Why would Orbán ban NPI?
This is his song.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Zorgas
Guest
@ExTor. Exactly my point. Viktor Orbán banned the NPI congress because its message IS his song; but at the time, he was only singing it in the shower. He was cautious. NPI had already been branded as racist in the US and it was providing a platform for Jobbik as well. Márton Gyöngyösi was scheduled to participate. Viktor Orbán was quaking in his jackboots that the Fidesz/Jobbik policy similarity would become too apparent before he was ready. It also gave him the opportunity to create the illusion that racism and xenophobia were more of a US problem, and that Jobbik’s philosophy was US-inspired. But, it depended upon NPI being censored, so that the government and its acolytes could attack the messengers rather than the message. Only TASZ spoke out against this infringement on free speech (http://mno.hu/magyar_nemzet_belfoldi_hirei/meghatralt-a-fajvedok-szponzora-1250899). Highlighting the Fidesz/Jobbik partnership, Fidesz was able to exert enough pressure on Jobbok so that Márton Gyöngyösi dropped off the speakers list and Jobbik withdrew its support for the congress. Now, of course, Viktor Orbán is free to draw upon the church and other faithful Hungarian sources for his xenophobic message, which he has moved through his propaganda machine to mainstream respectiability.
exTor
Guest

Apology Zorgas, I didn’t pay close-enough attention.

I read some of the UNESCO doc to which you link. It states: “xenophobic behavior is based on existing racist … prejudice.” Then the doc states that “Xenophobia and racism … are distinct phenomena”, which is your point.

I think the UNESCO document does draw too fine a point: racism is the act that stems from the fear [phobia] of the other [xenos]. Éva has it basically right. There’s no real difference ultimately: Euro xenophobia = NA racism.

As an aside, my Mac’s Dictionary app gives this example: “racism and xenophobia are steadily growing in Europe”. It makes your point.

If, as you wrote, Fidesz exerted “pressure on Jobbik”, then NPI was not legally proscribed, it was made unwelcome. It sounds as if the ‘Congress’ could have been held anyway.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Zorgas
Guest

@exTor — the “Congress” was definitely banned. As noted in the linked Ministry of Interior media statement “Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér – in total harmony with the standpoint put forward by the Government and Hungary’s parliamentary parties – has determined that the proposed speakers of the conference planned by the organisation, which is openly based on racist ideology, are proponents of racist ideologies and the expression of their opinions is contrary to the Fundamental Law, and accordingly he is banning the conference.” (http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-interior/news/minister-of-interior-bans-racist-conference)

Regarding the European use of the word “xenophobia” and the US use of the word “racisim,” I still don’t see any indication that they are used differently on the two continents. Some people, on both contents, may say “racism” when, according to the more academic usage, they mean “xenophobia,” but this blurring of the words probably occurs on both continents. That being said. I won’t get hung up on the semantics. Whether “xenophobia” or “racism,” current Fidesz policy exemplifies both.

petofi
Guest

re Kis Rigo and Balas

It would be interesting to contact the butcher and the import food seller to these two gentlemen, and to find out how their spending has varied in the last few years since their close friendship with V. Orban…

(Tappanch, are you there?)

Anna
Guest

Other Topic:
Ilan Mor interview in Hungarian (Israeli Ambassador in Hungary). Shame on him. http://szegedma.hu/hir/szeged/2015/11/ilan-mor-ha-az-eli-beindul-vonzani-fogja-az-izraeli-befektetoket.html
Is it Orban or Bibi propaganda? Or both?

“- Mi történik most Izraelben?
– Ugyan ezekkel a kihívásokkal küzdenek Izraelben is, mint Magyarországon korábban. A környező országok közül Izrael az egyetlen, ami munkát tud kínálni az embereknek, erre a környékbeli államokban egyszerűen nincs lehetőség. Jelenleg is 50-60 ezer menekült van Izraelben, akiket a nemzetközi jogszabályok szerint kezelnek. Az elképzelés az, hogy egy harmadik biztonságos országba küldjék őket, de sajnos több ezer olyan menekült is van, akik kihívást jelentenek számukra. A határon álló kerítés ugyan megállította a nagy migrációs hullámot, de úgy gondolom, csak a bevándorlók kis százaléka az, aki valóban menekült. Megértem és együtt tudok érezni mindazokkal a problémákkal, mellyel a magyarok szembesülnek.”

Observer
Guest

Mor must be joking:
Israel and Hungary having the same problems with terrorism!?
Hungary offering jobs in the region ?!
Ha ha, but not so funny.

pool
Guest

Soon Orban and Bibi will be best friends. They are very much alike actually.

Guest
London Calling! Bishoprics Gone Native! Surely he should be on Echo TV? Every so often we hear of some sect or other convincing their followers that the world will end – and that day will arrive tomorrow, usually after the leader has had breakfast and at a convenient time for the usual gullible journalists to get there. And for him (usually a him!) to issue some ectoplasmic apocalyptic Armageddon final prediction of collapse of civilisation as we know it. Now! Er…. Now! Only for him to retreat mumbling about how he got his calculations wrong. This has happened at least three times in my lifetime so far and I always find the anticlimax disappointing! Remember the Millennium bug naysayers? In the UK we had a few bishoprics who sold up, moved out, and decamped to a cave in Scotland! I think they must still be there. All because of a man-made software oversight – which many in the IT industry knew was a ruse for more high-premium overtime! This Bishopric – (I’m really disappointed that this word doesn’t have its final ‘k’) is a natural for Echo TV. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious – the opulence… Read more »
petofi
Guest

@Charlie

If it was up to me, I’d grant you the ‘k’…

Guest

CharlieH: “(Are you sure we can’t start a movement to restore the ‘k’ in Bishopric?)”

Ask exTor.

exTor
Guest

Touché. Encore.

I think we’re talking
about another ‘prick’.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

Ok, a quiz: who knows this line; who spoke it; to whom; from what play?

“The bawdy hand is upon the pricke of noone.”

Guest

Romeo & Juliet Act 2 scene 4:

“Eric Partridge, who made a dictionary of Shakespeare’s double entendres, called this line “not only one of the ‘naughtiest’ but also one of the three or four most scintillating of all Shakespeare’s sexual witticisms”. On one level, Mercutio’s just answering the Nurse’s question by telling her the time: the clock’s hand is at noon, so it’s twelve o’clock.”

Eric Partridge is (was) a hero of mine. Even though a New Zealander, he wrote the definitive book on English usage: ‘Usage and Abusage’ – others please note – which I have held dear throughout my working life.

He also wrote the definitive (for me) book on English Slang.

On the ‘split infinitive’, for example, he says “if it’s the most natural construction, use it boldly. The angels are on your side”.

He loved the UK – and died in Wales in 1979.

Sadly missed.

petofi
Guest

Well done, CH, you must’ve been listening in your high school Literature class..

Guest

Unfortunately I did Julius Caesar, Romeo & Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet.

I say unfortunately because I was taught by an English teacher who was the most sadistic educator I have ever experienced.

He would stab his Biro (that Hungarian writing implement) directly into your skull if you weren’t quick enough with the right answer – or the wrong one. Unbelievably painful which today would be classed as assault.

So my ‘muscle’ memory directly responds to anything Shakespeare.

Mr Grey he was. May he rot in hell.

exTor
Guest

Thanx for the headsup on Eric Partridge, CharlieH.

I’m a big fan of Shakey. My first-ever sonnet, which is in the strict Shakespearean form, won a modest sonnet-writing contest in Canada.

Shakey was a sharp writer. Not only did he appeal to the masses that attended his plays, he also gave to the educated with his double entendres and sometimes even triples, though I dont have any examples in mind.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

“The first Hungarian bishop to express his disagreement with the Pope was László Kiss-Rigó.”

Whatever happened to the doctrine of papal infallibility?

For me this is the clincher for the Hungarian Roman Catholic church going native – a schism?

“This authority is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church. Their definitions must then be adhered to with the submission of faith” (Lumen Gentium 25).”

Not that I understand what I’ve quoted(!) – but maybe Pope Francis has just thrown in the towel?

(Jean P – ! )

Guest

Well, what a relief!

Stop searching your Papal Encyclicals.

I think I’ve found the answer to my conundrum.

You see, its clearly an Ecumenical Matter.

This may help you. (Or may not!)

https://youtu.be/ptd_h0dF7NE

Istvan
Guest
Catholic teaching holds that the millennium mentioned in Revelation 20:1-10 may be going on now. But this is a disputed area of the Catechism within Catholic teaching. The reason I think is all the trouble the Book of Revelation has caused within the Church. Bishop Béla Balás in his story “Evening News from the European Caliphate at the Time of the First Century after Christendom” utilizes that tradition along with the narrative in Géza Gárdonyi’s historical novel cited by Eva in her informative essay. For example fifteenth-century Bohemia a sect called the Taborites that grew directly out of the Catholic Church began killing those they judged to be sinners — that is, nearly anyone not joined to their movement. They were convinced that such violence was necessary to bring about the Second Coming. Eventually, in 1434, they were destroyed in battle by the Hussites. Similar events and movements were common in Europe during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Joachim of Fiore (c. 1135-1202), a Cistercian abbot, in his Exposition on the Apocalypse, an influential interpretation of the book of Revelation. Joachim divided history into three eras, each corresponding to one of the Divine Persons of the Trinity. The age of… Read more »
spectator
Guest

At the main time in Orbanistan – or how the faith can make miracles to happen!
It can make out a decent (looking) crowd of a handful people loitering, really!
With a little help from some mortals, mind you.

Viktor Orbán visited the town of Nyiregyháza, so the state owned news agency published photos from the cheering crowd and the great happening, like this:
comment image
Photo: Czeglédi Zsolt / MTI

However, while the local news portal dutifully presented the event too, they made it from a slightly different point of view:
comment image

Since then the article disappeared, but not before it managed to spread a little. (http://index.hu/kultur/media/2015/11/12/hogyan_csinaljunk_egy_maroknyi_emberbol_tomeget/)

I mean: “The most popular politician ever, supported by over a two third of the populace!”
The number of people living in the city is 118.125 according to the Wikipedia.
Oh, well..

appleapple
Guest
Ferenc
Guest

And Hilary will be soon out due to the never ending, ever deepening FBI investigation against her so Bernie Sanders will duly lose against any half-decent Republican (Sanders is way left of the already “Stalinist” Obama, imagine).

Orban is very smart to bet on Republicans. He will win and he will settle any issues with his Republican friends. So the US will soon be ticked off. Orban has this sorted out.

Meanwhile the EU is unable to move against him as he is undermining the EU from within. Orban is winning, big time.

spectator
Guest

“Orban is very smart to bet on Republicans.”

As he did last time too..!
And the time before, when he’s been bragging all over:
http://viktoramerika.tumblr.com/post/48883108/mögöttem-fél-amerika
Well, the caption sounds much more correct in Hungarian, and with reason.
(Half of America behind me / America afraid behind me. The word “fél” mins both “half” and being “afraid”)

Maybe next time!
Or the time after that he will most certainly be proven right!
Sometimes, that is.
But don’t give up, according to the old Hungarian proverb, “even a blind hen can find a corn” so, it’s only question of time.

Sooner or later, but yeeeah, you’re so right!

petofi
Guest

@ Ference

Utter nonsense.
If anything, the Repubs, if they capture the White House, will crack down on Orban’s nonsense big time. It might start with positioning a Nato regiment in-country…

Observer
Guest

Guys,

Please, let’s keep the high standards of this site. Ignore cretinous trolls.

Guest

This is really depressing – especially considering the Republican POTUS candidates!
Does the GOP have any sane candidate at all? To me they all look and sound crazy – especially the ones leading now, Trump and Carson.
How can any one vote for clowns like these?
Especially considering this report on their latest “discussion”:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/opinion/campaign-stops/wow-more-terrifying-than-trump.html?action=click&contentCollection=Politics&module=MostPopularFB&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article&mtrref=www.nytimes.com&gwh=679048AE7418DF23D92B4F2D9BED4AA2&gwt=pay&assetType=opinion

petofi
Guest

Repubs:

The money, and oil, will rise to the top: Jeb has tremendous background resources. The other option is a draft-Romney-push.

Guest

Orbán’s interview in the (very conservative …) Swiss Weltwoche will soon be a hot topic.
This is really funny in a way:
BBJ also quoted Orbán:
http://bbj.hu/politics/die-wel
“All indications and experience suggest that the overwhelming majority of these migrants will vote for the left once they become citizens, so future leftist voters are being imported into Europe, channelnewsasia.com quoted the prime minister.”

Now look at this:
These Muslim migrants will become leftist voters?

Of course, some Americans believe at the same time that Obama is a Communist – and a Muslim …
I tried to get the original article in the Weltwoche but it’s only available to subscribers …

Guest

Re” The Bishop’

As if the faith doesn’ t have enough of trying and turbulent issues than having a ‘Father Concrete’ babbling around the font. Either way I guess either Bela’s verbal bricks will get one or the crozier if he’s crossed..

Curious how many ‘confessors’ he gets in the confessional. Yikes. Makes one think a bit on ‘safety’ in that setup.

And with individuals like the ‘Bishop’ it is certain that VO picks his clerics as those astute English monarchs in past centuries did where they had them energetically fighting and pushing the King and Crown agenda left right front and center forward into the body politic. As Wolsey was to Henry VIII it sure looks comparable today with Bela and Vik banging the gavel and churchbells together in sync.

Jaysus, if Francis is trying to go ‘forward’ it looks like the Hungarian Clerical setup is reeling ‘back to the future’ when it comes religion and the state..

.

.

.

Eliezer
Guest

More than 150 people are dead today in Paris. Are you still inclined to theoretical considerations of fine line between xenophobia and racism? Are you not ready to pay at least some respect to Orban for defense of the Hungarian borders?

wpDiscuz