HIS-Press-Service, 1976 (1. évfolyam, 1. szám)

1976 / 1. szám

HIS I ress ce Special Topic: Religion and Church in Hungary A REVIEW OF 1976: EVENTS AND TENDENCIES A New Era for Hungary's Church? After declaring the Episcopal See of Esztergom officially vacant, Pope Paul VI named Dr. László Lékai, Esztergom1s Apostolic Administrator, to be the diocese's new archbishop - which means that Lékai also became Hungary's new Primate - and raised him shortly thereafter to the rank of Cardinal. This Vatican decision, which received world-wide attention,suggested that the period of constant tension in Hungary between Church and State is coming to an end, and that the State is now willing to let the Church retain the social influence still left to it after a quarter century of repressive administrative and political measures. Vatican acceptance of the situation paved the way for a normalization of relations and produced an atmosphere conducive to the development of an era of beneficial new relations between Church and State. Lèkai Takes the Initiative On several occasions high-ranking persons stated their conviction that Lékai's appointment and the settlement of a number of long-existing problems signified the end of an era in Hungarian Church-State relations. At Lékai's reception of the pallium on March 29, 1976, he was told by Pope Paul VI that he, Pope Paul VI, had with love and concern carefully followed the events in the era of the Hungarian Church which was now ending with Lékai's appointment. The future development of the Hungarian Church would be accompanied by the Pope's prayers in the hope that Lékai would be able to approach his new responsibilities, which are by no means easy but instead significant and stimulating, with both the vigor of the past and a prudence adapted to present circumstances. A welcoming speech was given at Lékai's enthronement by Imre Miklós, the Secretary of State and head of the government Bureau of Church Affairs. In his capacity as official representative of the Hungarian government, Miklós expressed confidence that Lékai's appointment signified a new opportunity "for expanding the good relations already achieved through persistent mutual efforts. The problems which arise in the future," he continued, "will be approached by us in a spirit of