News from Hungary

The pope from behind the iron curtain- conference in the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the election of John Paul II

János Pál konferencia, parlament

Friday, the 12th October from 9 AM to 3 PM, the Polish and the Hungarian National Commission of Recollection organized a conference in the upper chamber room of the Hungarian Parliament to commemorate about the 40th anniversary of the election of John Paul II.

The event was opened by the salutation of Dr. Zsolt Semjén, vice-prime minister, and he called the participants “brothers and sisters” because we are all brothers and sisters in God. After this, Réka Földváry Kiss, the president of NEB (abbreviation of the name of the Hungarian institution), and Dr. Jarislaw Szarek, the president of the IPN (abbreviation of the name of the Polish institution) welcomed the attendants, too.

The central subject of the conference was John Paul’s relationship with the Soviet Union, his influence in the Soviet countries, and his cooperation in the failure of the communist regime.

Among others, Dr. András Veres, the diocesan of Győr, Viktor Soós, the associate of NEB, and the Polish Dr. Andrzej Dobrzynski, Igor Halagida,  and Andrzej Zwolinsky made a speech, too. 

Almost every performer mentioned the famous sentence of Jean-Paul, “Do not be afraid.”  He started his first speech as pope with these words. “Do not be afraid” of the intimidation, the dictatorship, the suppression of Christian values in a regime that takes the Christian religion as the ‘opium of the people’, superstition and sham.

Dr. András Veres talked about John Paul’s Church governing. Like the other presenters, he also highlighted the important role of the pope in the failure of the Soviet Union, however, he cited a sentence of John Paul II., according to which

“The real cause of the Soviet Union’s failure was the regime oneself, as it was based on an anthropological misunderstand”. 

He talked about the open-mindedness of Karol Wojtyla towards the modern world, and he told two interesting stories in relation with the funeral of the pope.

During the Funeral Mass, there was a prayer book put on the coffin of John Paul II. During the ceremony, the wind continuously leafed the book, and at the end of the Mess, a whiff closed it. Later, when the coffin was taken to the church, before entering, the coffin holders rose his head and turned back towards the Saint Peter square. Everybody started to wave automatically. That was how the people on the square said goodbye to the pope.

 Viktor Soós talked about the reaction of the Hungarian single-party state for the election of Karol Wojtyla. How became the Catholic Church the greatest organized opposition against the Soviet Union.

Dobrzynski explained the relation between the pope and Russia in the sight of the 2nd Synod of the Vatican. According to Jean Paul, the most important human right is religious liberty, but he fought a lot to protect other human liberty rights, too, as Henryk Skorowsky highlighted too in his discourse.   

Igor Halagida found important to emphasize how much Karol Wojtyla has done for the Greek Catholic Church to be officially recognized.  

Pope John Paul II occupied the Holy See in a difficult moment, but he fought persistently and committed against the suppressing dictatorships, and for the protection of the Christian values. Before the conference in Budapest, there was another commemoration about the “Pope of the peace and of everyone” in Krakow, Poland.

Ildikó Ungvári

Leave a reply