HIS-Press-Service, 1980 (5. évfolyam, 16-18. szám)

1980-02-01 / 16. szám

Press-Service Special Topic: Religion and Church in Hungary _______________ No. 16-Vienna, February 1980 Basic Characteristics of Hungarian Church Politics INTRODUCTION Hungarian Church politics are significant in a two-fold manner: On the one hand, Hungary was from the very beginning an important partner of the Vatican in the latter's "Ostpolitik," i.e., the Vatican's willingness to enter into a dialogue with the countries of Eastern Europe. On the other, those Eastern European countries which have not yet succeeded in reaching a working relationship with the Catholic Church look with great interest to Hungary's Church politics since, beyond being in a position to describe its relations with the Church as positive, Hungary can also point to actual benefits for the State resulting from this working relationship - all of which puts Hungary's Church politics in a position of acting as a potential model for Church-State realtionships in other Eastern European countries. In the following, we are interested in presenting the basic characteristics of the Hungarian Church politics referred to above, as seen in two studies issued by Secretary of State Imre Miklós, who is the president and person in charge of the State Office for Church Affairs. One of the studies, entitled "A New Type of Relations," appeared in January 1977 in the materialistic monthly journal "Világosság" (The Light). A German edition of what is essentially the same study, though brought up to date and expanded through the addition of certain concrete details, was given to representatives of the press at a press con­ference held by Secretary of State Miklós in Vienna on 10 September 1979. The special occasion or purpose for holding the press conference remained unstated; its topic was today's Hungarian Church politics. We have chosen this latter study as the second document upon which to base the present analysis. In our commentary on the study's individual points, we will also examine the anticipated effects of Hungary's Church politics upon the life of the Hungarian Church. I, The Role of the Churches in Socialistic Society In the relations between Church and State, Hungarian Church politics is naturally interested in promoting that concept which it considers the one, valid