Secular Hungary

Monday, 24 May 2010

Equal and more equal citizens

As I mentioned, Hungary held elections in April. While we are still wating for the new government to take over, the parliament is already up and working, and the Society for Freedom Rights is doing their work: as they pointed out, the preambulum of one of last week's bills goes as follows: "We, the members of the parliament of the Republic of Hungary, those who believe that God is the ruler of history and those who endeavour to understand history from other sources..." ("Mi, a Magyar Köztársaság Országgyűlésének tagjai, azok, akik hiszünk abban, hogy Isten a történelem ura, s azok akik a történelem menetét más forrásokból igyekszünk megérteni…"). This is not quite in line with the Hungarian constitution,

Locked school doors

Schoolkids in Zsámbék (near Budapest) found themselves in font of locked doors, because of a dispute between two congregations. The owners of the building, the Sisters of Charity of the Holy Cross in Linz (Austria) let the building (which they received back from the state with the condition that they use it for social or educational purposes) to the Premonstratensians, for school purposes. The building is in a bad condition, and some parts of it are closed, but the school is still operating.
For not quite clear reasons, the sisters closed down the building, so the kids found themselves in front of closed doors one morning. The operators of the school had the locks taken down, so teaching continues, but the sisters, who want to sell the building, claim that it is dangerous, while the friars deny that, based on an expert's opinion.
Anyway, the school year is over soon...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

New government, new census

After having waited impatiently for four years, in April, the liberal-turned conservative Fidesz have won the elections, carrying on their back the clerical Christian National Democrats (KDNP), who on their own don't even make the 1% limit for getting state funding, not to speak of managing to tackle the 5% threshold for getting into parliament. While the new government has still not yet taken over (as they want to govern with a totally new structure, meaning very few ministers [so a medical researcher is designated to govern health, education, culture, welfare and sports issues] and a huge amount of state secretaries, they first have to amend the constitution), the parliament is already up and working: three MPs (two of them Christian Democrats, of whom one especially famous for bashing singles and designated deupty prime minister) have initiated a change to the census law in order to add (among others) a question on religious affiliation. According to their initiative, answering would not be compulsory--as in 2001, when over 10% of the population declined to answer, and the rest of the data was quite meaningless, as most people just answered based on their family tradition.
Conclusion: another way to throw out a lot of money when we are short of it...

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Blacklisted priests

A couple of years ago, a list appeared on the internet with the names and photos of alleged homosexuals in the Catholic clergy in four Hungarian dioceses. Besides homosexuality, some of them were accused also of criminla offenses (as coruption and paedosexual offenses). The list, whose unknown authors stated that it was far from exhaustive, seems to have been modífied to include new information, was taken down by a hacker, reappeared and finally disappeard in 2007. But the story s not over, as two of the persons listed, both of them bishops, have filed a complaint.
Of course calling someone homosexual is not an insult in itself. Legally speaking, the list is rather an offence against privacy,