Friction between natural allies: The Orbán government and the Catholic Church

András Veres has been widely criticized ever since he delivered a brief but controversial sermon at the official Catholic celebration of August 20, Hungary’s premier national holiday. Veres, the bishop of Győr and the president of the Conference of Hungarian Bishops, is well known for his extreme conservatism. So when I heard that he would deliver the homily, I assumed that he would use the occasion to promote reactionary views of the Hungarian Catholic Church. I was surprised when I read the summary by MTI, the state-owned news agency. The summary was extremely short and devoid of any extremism.

Well, it didn’t take long before it was discovered that MTI had left out all the passages in which Veres was critical of the Orbán government. Magyar Kurír, the official internet site of the Conference of Hungarian Bishops, published the complete text, in which this passage could be found:

Brothers and sisters, we must pay attention to an internal danger. A deviously worded law under the guise of good intentions which ignores Christian values furtively is sneaking into the fabric of a Christian-based society, planting the blight of self-abdication. The last time we saw such a thing was in the provision to increase support for the test-tube baby program.

Another passage that was deemed unimportant by MTI was the one that dealt with relations between church and state. What Veres had to say on the subject, in my opinion, amounts to asserting the supremacy of the church over the state.

We Christians cannot abdicate our duty of shaping society according to the value system of the gospel. On the one hand, because we know that we serve the good of all people and, on the other, because if we renounced that task we would not fulfill our mission of baptism, that is, we wouldn’t be building the kingdom of God.

It took a couple of days before the real meaning of the words on the test-tube baby program sank in, but when it did, the outrage was widespread. Something unusual happened in a country of enormous political divisiveness: it mattered not whether people support the government or are in the opposition, they found Veres’s words unacceptable. When I read an open letter addressed to András Veres by László Szentesi Zöldi, I realized the depth of the rejection of the position of the Catholic Church on the subject. Szentesi Zöldi is a journalist who is usually the first to defend the Catholic Church. And yet in this letter he took it upon himself to teach the prelate about true Christianity.

András Veres, bishop of Győr

A long list of well-known personalities expressed their disappointment over Veres’s position. Some commentators couldn’t understand why Veres chose this particular occasion to get involved with such a controversial topic. But there is a fairly simple explanation that got lost in the emotional outcry against the church’s official doctrine. From the snippets of information that we have, the Christian Democratic People’s Party (Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt/KDNP), which considers itself to be the political arm of the Catholic Church seems to be extremely unhappy with the government’s decision to enlarge the test-tube baby program. As of now, the state funds the birth of 6,000 test-tube babies a year, but because of outside pressure as well as the government’s interest in increasing the number of births, it promised enough funds to double that number to 12,000. My suspicion is that behind the scenes Fidesz is encountering opposition from KDNP at the urging of the Catholic Church.

The question of expanding the program has been on the table for far too long. It was during the second Orbán government (2010-2014) that Miklós Szócska, undersecretary of health, commissioned a study that came to the conclusion that the expansion of the program might produce 10,000 new babies every year. His successor, Gábor Zombor (June 2014-September 2015), continued advocating for an expansion, and this time the government actually approved the measure. But its implementation was postponed. This spring his successor, Zoltán Ónodi-Szűcs, brought up the issue once again, but those eager would-be parents who might benefit from the expansion of the program are still waiting.

I fear they can wait for a while, because I’m quite certain that the “discussion” between Fidesz and KDNP hasn’t been settled yet. In fact, if we can trust Rózsa Hoffmann (KDNP), former undersecretary of education (2010-2014), the fight over the issue is raging at the moment. According to her, “the test-tube baby program can be continued, but because of the Catholic Church’s objection there will still be a lot of debate on the issue.”

An article published today confirms my suspicion of the raging debate between the government parties. The author of the article calls attention to the fact that there is “total chaos surrounding the test-tube baby program.” For example, two undersecretaries in the ministry of human resources hold diametrically opposed positions on the issue. Katalin Novák (Fidesz), undersecretary in charge of family affairs in the ministry of human resources, distanced herself from Bishop Veres by emphasizing the enormous help the program gives to infertile parents. She reiterated that the expansion of the program will be approved soon. On the other hand, Bence Rétvári (KDNP), political undersecretary in the same ministry, did not stand by the program and was extremely vague on the details. Rétvári, who is a typical member of a party that considers itself to be the arm of the Catholic Church, suspects that the promoters of the program support the idea because it gives extra work and income to those institutions that specialize in this particular medical procedure. Whether the public outcry will tip the scale in favor of doubling the program we don’t know yet.

András Veres subsequently gave interviews explaining the church’s position, and the more he said the worse it got. Since the church believes in birth only through natural means, infertile couples just have to cope with their lot. Or, as a remedy, they could adopt a child, which would relieve their anxiety so they could eventually produce a child of their own. No one seems to be convinced.

As for Veres’s second statement, about the duty of the church to shape society, no has taken notice of it yet, although it might be a much more weighty statement than the church’s views on test-tube babies. After all, 80% of women pay not the slightest attention to the Catholic church’s views on reproduction. The shaping of society according to the value system of the Catholic church is a much more frightening prospect, especially in a country like Hungary where state and church are far too close as it is.

August 25, 2017
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tappanch
Guest

“White House adviser Sebastian Gorka resigns.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-gorka-idUSKCN1B6016?il=0

tappanch
Guest

“”Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan this week…” Gorka wrote. “The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost.”

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/sebastian-gorka-quits-white-house-slams-trump-in-resignation-letter/article/2632637

tappanch
Guest

“Three Democratic senators recently asked the Trump administration to disclose whether Gorka had lied about membership to the Vitezi Rend, a far-right anti-Semitic Hungarian group, when he became a U.S. citizen.”

wrfree
Guest

‘ There is only one person in this great country that controls our nuclear arsenal and it’s not John McCain’ SB .. Wash Post… ‘Trump Escalates Rhetoric on Threat From North Korea’

With this bit of sagaciousness and perspicacity it just might be better for all if representatives with ‘stories’ such as SB tell it all walking and should be reminded to close the door on the way out.

tappanch
Guest

“Gorka initially claimed on Friday that he had resigned from his post, but a White House official rejected this characterization. “Sebastian Gorka did not resign, but I can confirm he no longer works at the White House,” the official stated.”

Observer
Guest

“He no longer works in the administration, but he didn’t resign”, nor was he fired… How is that?!

Typical Trump BS.

Wondercat
Guest

Surely adherents to every religion hold that acts prescribed by their faith take precedence over acts prescribed by their government. (Consider, for example, refusal by the Amish or by members of the Religious Society of Friends to serve the State by bearing arms.) Which things are to be rendered unto Caesar and which to God? That question is in every instance, I believe, where discussion must begin.

wrfree
Guest
The ‘question’ is an interesting one alright. And being ‘in’ the world as well as ‘out’ of it taking in the spiritual sphere complicates the relationships between Church and State. It looks the Church is losing the particular battle noted. But nevertheless the institution can do no less. The Church has a creed and it has adhered to it for millenia. And it has always tried to exist as a bulwark in opposition against the State. In that it has served as an institutional moral ‘check’. It should continue to do so. Indeed the Church has ‘shaped’ civilization and societies for centuries. And even now it is trying to do it in a changing Magyarorszag as it is experiencing a political/secularized entity that has its own conceptions of how societies are to be managed and aggregated. And on that it can be said that for the most part the Church not only watches but with its acquiescence gives assent to some lousy behavior. And yet when it comes to being outright vociferous on tenets of the faith it finds there is great discord between them and the laity. Veres looks like he is sailing in an empty boat. Who and… Read more »
Aida
Guest

OT
Gorka is gone. The bogus security expert, bogus PH.D but true Nazi. Hang out the flag.

Guest

OT: it seems Sebastian Gorka was fired from the White House.

Eszti
Guest

I think a really important element that’s not talked about anywhere is that the proposed in vitro fertilisation programme will only be available to couples in the Budapest region, as only government hospitals that already run programmes will receive money… but that’s probably a separate post! (https://atlatszo.hu/2017/07/28/allami-korhazakba-terelne-a-kormany-a-meddo-parokat/)

Guest

Wow!
“Test tube babies” – what a “nice” expression!
Do they mean artificial insemination or what?
This gives me a chance to repeat my favourite bad joke on Catholic priests (btw Anglicans ain’t much better – just google Bishop Ball …):
What’s the difference between a progressive Catholic priest and a conservative priest?

The progressive priest has a girlfriend – the conservative has his altar boys …

PS:
I know that there are some honest Catholic priests who are good people – but it seems that a large number are still “Clerical Fascists” as we used to call them 60 years ago!

Eszti
Guest

Because conception happens in a test tube…!! They mean in vitro fertilisation.

Observer
Guest

Clerical fascists..

I remember the almost hysterical very old priest frothing from the pulpit: there’s no place in this country for communists, there’s no place for atheists …

And that was 1997 ..
I’m a much harder atheist is now, after seeing the damage these religions do.

BTW my children went to the (híttan) out of school religious instruction fashionable in H even in the communist era, went to some gatherings, etc just to developed a pronounced aversion to religion and establishment, thank God.

wrfree
Guest

‘thank God?’…. Gotta be ‘God-ot’…more in keeping say with the ‘nothingness?’

Observer
Guest

wrfree
The god thing is a pun.

wrfree
Guest

Yes it is! But I figure you must be a different kind of atheist thankin’ God…😎👍

Guest

Breaking news!
Gorka is out of the WH!
The official said Gorka did not resign but would not elaborate on the circumstances of his departure. The New York Times reported that the president’s new chief of staff, John Kelly, had made clear that he no longer wanted Gorka in the White House, and forced him out.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/25/donald-trump-sebastian-gorka-out-white-house-breitbart

Guest

Here’s the report in the NYT:
Mr. Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president, had been on vacation for at least the last two weeks, that official said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/us/politics/sebastian-gorka-leaves-white-house.html

tappanch
Guest

The European Union and its member states pay 3 billion euros a year to Erdogan. In return, Erdogan no longer allows the refugees/migrants to cross from Turkey to Greece.

European Commissioner for Budget Günther Oettinger panhandles to keep this March 18, 2016 agreement in place. “Countries must spend more on EU-Turkey refugee deal”

http://www.politico.eu/article/gunther-oettinger-countries-must-spend-more-on-eu-turkey-refugee-deal/

Guest

Totally OT re Oettinger – a funny story happened to him in my favourite bar two years ago (Maybe I described this already …):

Because he was wearing the kind of uniform of a right wing student corporation he and his similarly attired friends were not let in! He used to be a regular customer, but …
http://www.tagblatt.de/Nachrichten/Warum-EU-Kommissar-Guenther-Oettinger-kein-Bier-bekam-228803.html

petofi
Guest

Gorka the Uborka..

From the White House to the outhouse…The way of all Hungarian flesh-

Hajra Magyarok!!

Istvan
Guest

This appeared on the Brietbart website today. “Breitbart is currently in negotiations with Dr. Gorka regarding his support for the website, as well as collaboration on a joint venture that would embody a Jacksonian national security vision.”

It is beyond me what a contemporary Jacksonian national security vision would be. Going back to slaughtering naive Americans?

wrfree
Guest

If SB is helping out to bring about a ‘Jacksonian’ age well truly we must be careful as the Trumpian age arguably follows on its back with battles now apparently occurring and forging ahead in government and within the electorate itself trying to create another populist vision of tomorrow.

SB if he’s involved needs to be mindful of the past’s denouement …. the Civil War coming after Big Andrew. We haven’t seen a Sumter yet. But we’ve seen a dismal ‘Charlottesville’. It could be an omen that speaks to a possible bad future with the ‘nationalist’ help.

Observer
Guest

Jihad is our duty of shaping society according to the teachings of the Koran. ..if we renounced jihad we would not fulfill our mission of spreading Islam, we wouldn’t be building the kingdom of Allah, blessed be his name ..

Is this what bishop Verses said?

Observer
Guest

This abominable position on in vitro insemination is trying to deprive 20 000 or more people of the joy and fulfilment of having 10 000 children of their own. All for the sake of an arbitrary dogma pronounced many centuries ago. Or maybe a misguided attempt to maintain the facade while the primitive interior is crumbling down.
Should we reject all medical science saving lives and curing illnesses bestowed upon us as a punishment and this way interfering with god’s plans?

Again, on balance religion is bad. Just say no!

Wondercat
Guest

At the 1974 World Food Conference in Rome, [Earl] Butz made fun of Pope Paul VI’s opposition to “population control” by quipping, in a mock Italian accent: “He no playa da game, he no maka da rules.” Forty years on…

Istvan
Guest
It is difficult for me to believe that the public discussion of this issue is being had at the level of “test tube” babies in Hungary. As is often the case, Eva characterizes the position of the Catholic Church without real consideration of the evolution that is occurring internationally within the Church and the greater complexities involved. So while what is technically called, homologous in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination are considered to be “gravely immoral” by the Catechism the actual infringement is forgiven regularly by the act of confession. In fact one of the questions Catholics are asked to self examine prior to the act of confession is this: “Have I engaged, in any way, in sins against human life such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization?” Of course priests likely themselves regularly confess to the sin of masturbation, and have been doing so for centuries I suspect. Confession of child abuse by priests during the act of confession no doubt also occurs and revealing that to authorities is prohibited by the the seal of confession. I confessed to the taking of life while in war and was absolved for that sin. But the priest asked me a… Read more »
Guest

Istvan, this story of yours re “confession” reminds me of a prominent German Catholic “lady” who said in an interview something like:
This is the good side of Catholicism – you confess your “sin” and then you’re done …
Nothing about going to jail maybe …
And then of course you repeat that sin and confess again – no problem …

Istvan
Guest
There is unfortunately truth to that Wolfi and Catholic Army Chaplains I suspect absolve all soliders for the taking of human life during combat and probably even in other situations too. For example what are called collateral damage situations were non-combatants get killed, which upsets many soldiers who carry deep guilt and remorse for their lives in some cases. Here is what John Kerry, who became a Senator and Secretary of State said back in 1971, not long before I was sent to Vietnam: “We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, no reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out. I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Vietnam. The country doesn’t know it yet,… Read more »
Wondercat
Guest

http://www.cell.com/cell/abstract/S0092-8674(16)31752-4 for generating interspecies embryos in which human cells contribute to the developing pig. “Designer organs” to replace your failing kidneys are not far away.

Observer
Guest

As Eva noted the intertwining of the H Catholic Church and state is a very negative, dark prospect. The attandance of the service by president, ministers etc sitting together in a VIP section clearly fuses the national holiday with the church.

The Veres cermon had other notable parts: quoting Adenauer that Europe will be Christian or not at all, he continued with the familiar gov propaganda: – “unfortunately .. Europe is living not only through a quiet apostate, but together with the abendment of the Christian values it has arrived at the treshold of a complete cultural and POLITICAL surrender”
(Erópa nemcsak egy csöndes aposztázia (hittagadás) idejét éli, hanem a keresztény értékrend elhagyásával egy teljes kulturális és politikai önfeladás küszöbéhez érkezett.)

Istvan
Guest
Observer we need to remember the Catholic Church is also a nation state, not just a religion. Those of us within the Catholic community who argue for a clear separation between church and state are often the minority internationally. So at the Catholic University in the USA, Norte Dame there are two separate departments that seem to me to have very different perspectives on Catholic church state relations. One is the Department of Theology and the other is the interdepartmental Study of Religion in Graduate studies that cover numerous departments. Academic freedom at Catholic Universities within the USA allows for this difference in perspectives, in Hungary such freedom is dramatically limited. The more or less monolithic Catholic higher educational system in Hungary has helped to create Bishop Veres and his world view. So Hungary has really no Catholic progressive presence or any influence of what is called liberation theology in Latin America. This has a lot to do with the corrupting influence of Communism on the church in Hungary, which turned inward in good part because of Cardinal József Mindszenty, who thought to create an ideological fortress against communism within the Church. Ultimately the Church was cooperating with the HSWP… Read more »
Guest

And just to remind us of Godwin’s law:
Part of the Catholic Church made arrangements i e a treaty with Nazi Germany – the Konkordat – which is still valid today in Germany and gives the Church special rights like getting the “Church tax” (an additional 9 or 10% on the income tax) which is collected for them by the German tax office …
And of course horrible happenings like the “rat line” which Istvan described – unbelievable in a way, but the Churches seem to have a tendency to make arrangements with the rulers.

petof
Guest

The template for the dismemberment of the border states of the EU:
-as per usual, Hungary leads the way;

-Orban violently, and obviously, misappropriates EU funds in order to
instigate Bruxelles investigations
-Hungary will be ordered to repay huge funds
-Hungary will legislate new, massive taxes to repay EU penalties as they haveindicated they would do in the past
-the population will be encouraged to march against EU intimidation
and illegality
-riots due to new taxes
-Orban declares that he has no choice but to introduces steps to leave the EU…

petof
Guest

Orban–the malevolent, gypsy, genius.

petofi
Guest

Orban DOES NOT want to be king of Hungary: he wants to be king of all the gyspies…which he will achieve with the destruction of Hungary-

wrfree
Guest

Re: king of the gypsies

Below. Two Magyarorszags …two ‘looks’…….
Esmeralda and the hunchback.. remember he got the crown ‘king of the gypsies….
Magyarorszag arguably has a different beauty ‘taste’ nowadays

Apologies if the pix post doesn’t work. For some reason I always have issues on that.

comment image&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fsetinparis.com%2Fthe-real-hunchback-of-notre-dame%2F&docid=Jm0Yhy59GlsLzM&tbnid=95y08OyNG9W1NM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwiLrMiU4_fVAhUK1CYKHS58BlgQMwhoKCQwJA..i&w=500&h=300&hl=en-us&client=safari&bih=937&biw=768&q=hunchback%20of%20notre%20dame%20film%20stills&ved=0ahUKEwiLrMiU4_fVAhUK1CYKHS58BlgQMwhoKCQwJA&iact=mrc&uact=8

Guest

In Germany the right wingers are actively fighting for the dissolution of the EU and first for the abolishment of the € which they see as some kind of “devil’s instrument”.
Some people even “predict” that there won’t be a € in 10 years – if this really happens then I say goodbye to mankind!
Probably I won’t be alive then (I’m 74 right now) but if crazies like Trump, Putin, Erdogan and Orbán win then I’ll be happy to lie in my grave not having to endure the end …

petofi
Guest

@ wolfi

The mad men of today–Trump, Putin, Erdogan, Orban–do not suggest a pleasant, or even, a tolerable future; so the option of exiting this sorry condition becomes ever more palatable. (I certainly wouldn’t want to be a survivor in a post-holocaust world…)

wrfree
Guest

Ah ..’ The End’ .. An oldie but goodie! Kosz.

And Mr. Morrison, the lizard king, did understand a bit out of life and death…
Points to ponder…
Life: ‘When you make your peace with authority, you become authority’

Death: ‘No one here gets out alive’

Guest

Yes, often I feel happy to have grown up in those fabulous 50s and 60s – even though many of my contemporaries didn’t make it …
The (in)famous Club 27 – tragedies …

PS:
We again got visitors, this time my sister and her husband who is a real “Anti-Christian”. He’s soangry about Mrs Merkel and her inactivities against the East European fascists (that’s what he calls them – Hungary, Poland etc …)
And don’t dare ask him about Erdogan or Putin!

wrfree
Guest

On those that ‘didn’t make it: Yes some were like stars that just blew themselves out. Others were at the wrong place at the wrong time with people.

Here I would never have thought the far right would have the vicious aggressiveness, the arrogance, to take to the streets in Charlottesville Virginia and spew out their hatreds. It was astounding to see the fired up torches lit. The symbolism! For sure… a time for ‘wallowing in the mire’.

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