HIS-Press-Service, 1986 (9. évfolyam, 29. szám)

1986-02-01 / 29. szám

HIS Press Service, No.29, February 1986 Page 2 struction activity of the Government, and further the development of the land (pt.2). The inclusion of the laity in the pastoral ministries is thus to be realized on the basis of a three-level provision: the agreement itself offers a framework of prin­ciples of Church-policy; the guidelines still to be laid down by the Bishops' Con­ference in detail will form the authoritative norm in practice for the entire land; and, finally, it will be reserved to the diocesan bishops to establish concretely the realm of operation and the duties of the individual lay ministers and to super­vise them. As is well known, in Hungary every official activity of the Church, thus also pastoral activity, is seen as a part of the relations existing between Church and State and is governed by way of arrangements with the Church. These arrangements under the premise of "ordered relations" within the legal framework first make those "small steps forward" possible which involve advantageous changes for the Church. The agreement under discussion about the inclusion of the laity in the pastoral ministries offers the Bishops' Conference a corresponding framework to create a remedy for the shortage of priests, which is becoming ever more critical. State Secretary Imre Miklós declared in November, 1985 before Austrian journalists that the shortage of priests is an exclusively inner-Church concern, that the State though understands that the Church is attempting by embarking on new ways to offset the shortage of priests through the employment of lay ministers and is also prepared to accede to this wish. EVALUATION The inclusion of the laity in the pastoral ministries became of pressing impor­tance in Hungary in the measure that the number of priests declined. At the same time, such a step would mean a realization of the decrees of the Second Vatican Council and--one hopes—bring progress on the way to ecumenism with the Protes­tant Churches. The practical realization of this step, equally approved by Church and State leadership, depends in part on whether the government leadership is actually in agreement with the official employment of the laity in the pastoral ministries, i.e., whether it will place no obstacles in the way of the execution of its ministries. The realization, however, also depends on authoritative factors in the Church realm, in particular on the attitude of the bishops^ and even more on that of the priests: the question arises as to what degree the clergy, which was accustomed on the basis of a centuries-old tradition, to consider pastoral ministry as its exclusive domain will be able to accustom itself to share its work with