Secular Hungary

Sunday, 20 December 2009

I get pics

Hungarians are also participating in the Afghanistan war. AP has a somewhat strange picture of one of them (I first got it from one of my Hungarian readers about a month ago, and now found it in this week's HVG): a Bible verse is pinned to his vehicle, Ezekiel 25:17: "And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them."

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Census questions

The next census in Hungary is due in 2011. The parliament decided not to include any questions regarding religious affiliation (as well as regarding special needs and the number of children), but the president, Mr László Sólyom returned the act to the parliament, which affirmed it.
As during WWII, the census was used for deportations, these data are considered very sensitive, and at the last census in 2001, it was not compulsory to answer. The big churches urged their followers to pledge their faith, while smaller ones and Jewish faith leaders dissuaded their followers. Over 10% of the population did not provide any data on their religious affiliation. In addition, contrary to their promise not to use these data in any way, the government later tried to reshape the distribution of state funding among churches according to the census figures, and leaders of bigger churches used the data to show their influence (for a discussion, see the FActs and figures page at the top of the blog!).

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

What does the church use your donations for?

To pay for abuse victims. At least this is what is going to happen with the buildings erected by the Hungarian community in Cleveland, USA. The bishop has already sold 24 churches, two of them built by Hungarian emigrants, and a third is to follow. 600 locals are fighting to keep the 150 year old church, they even turned to the head of the catholic church in Hungary, Péter Erdő, and to the Vatican, but without any results.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Church recycling

Though the Vatican is very well informed, the head of Hungarian Catholics, Péter Erdő cardinal had to correct a statement by cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, according to whom in Hungary churches have been turned into brothels.
However, we do have more churches than necessary. In the village of Medgyesegyháza, the reformed church is selling one of its places of worship, since of the 200 inhabitants who declared themselves calvinist, only 1 or 2 attend the services held at the church once or twice a month. However, they plan to keep the churchbell, which was given to them by communist dictator Mátyás Rákosi in 1951.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Telltale debt

A Hungarian Catholic priest was suspended for homosexual acts. A gay porn actor has accused him of not paying for his services. The church doesn't believe him to be guilty, as he did his work well. However, based on its statement it seems that the Catholic church still doesn't manage to understand the difference between homosexuality and child molesting: they say they believe him to be innocent because they have interviewed the altar-boys, who haven't had any strange experiences...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

No common fate

The Hungarian state budget will decrease by an average of 10% for the year 2010 due to the financial crisis. The minister of education and culture Mr István Hiller confirmed that budget cus will probably also affect the funds received by the churches from the state for their spiritual activities (social and educational services are funded separately), but he promised that these will be kept below the average rate. The churches are furious. -- It seems they are not ready to take their share...

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Choice of guest

Yesterday, Hungarians celebrated their national day. This traditionally includes a catholic procession, where the alleged, well-preserved hand of state founder king (Saint) Stephen I. is shown. This year, the head of Hungarian catholic, cardinal Péter Erdő invited the German cardinal Joachim Meisner to participate. In his home town, not everybody is happy with the cardinal, as he seems to enjoy provocation. He has called any non-figurative art not focussing on God "entartet" (the term the Nazi party used in the 1930s), he equated abortion with the holocaust, and already back in 1991 he said every non-Christian is a disdainful cannibal.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Too much science

The Buddhists are fighting with each other over the Buddhist College in Budapest, which specialises in eastern languages and philosophy. The problems started when a new head (professor of Eötvös Loránd University) was appointed in 2007 by the Buddhist church. A church leader, Pál Farkas complained that the Buddhist faith has been played down to the advantage of science.