Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

and liberty. The country is condemned to silence and public opinion is made a mere frivolous jest. Democratic "freedom of speech" in this country means that any opinion that differs from the official one is silenced. If a man dares to raise his voice in contradiction, he is dismissed from his position for criticism of democracy. . . . I feel the deepest sympathy for those who have been forced into such a position. I have been greatly impressed and deeply moved by many wonderful examples of unflinching courage and loyalty.

. . . We asked the Government to publish those letters of mine to which such strong exception has been taken, and to submit them to the judgment of world opinion. But this has not been done. . . .

As to the fact that between Church and State -- or perhaps we should say "parties" -- no agreement has yet been reached, everyone knows that the Church was invited to negotiate an agreement only after a delay of three months, although she had repeatedly and publicly declared her willingness to enter into negotiations. At first it was announced that the questions . . . must be settled by mutual agreement. When, however, the Church was at last invited to negotiate, the main point -- the problem of the schools -- had already been settled by the State. The church, of course, was forced to play the role of scapegoat.

* * *

I look on calmly at this artificial whipping up of the waves. In the place where I stand, not by the grace of any party, but by the grace and confidence of the Holy See, seething waters are not an extraordinary phenomenon. History lives in change.

Of my predecessors, two were killed in action, two were robbed of all their possessions, one was taken prisoner and deported, one was assassinated, our greatest one was exiled. . . .

Of all my predecessors, however, not one stood so bare of all means as I do. Such a systematic and purposeful net of propaganda lies -- a hundred times disproved and yet a hundred times spread anew -- has never been organized against the seventy-eight predecessors in my office. I stand for God, for the Church, and for Hungary. This responsibility has been imposed upon me by the fate of my nation which stands alone, an orphan in the whole world. Compared with the sufferings of my people, my own fate is of no importance.

I do not accuse my accusers. If I am compelled to speak out from time to time and to state the facts as they are, it is only the misery of my people and the urge of truth which force me to do so.

I pray for a world of truth and love. I pray for those who, in the words of our Lord, "know not what they do." I forgive them from the bottom of my heart.

Source: Cardinal Mindszenty Speaks ( New York, 1949), pp. 209-212.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

J. Broun, Conscience and Captivity, Religion in Eastern Europe ( London, 1988), pp. 127- 133.

O. Chadwick, The Christian Church in the Cold War ( London, 1992). pp. 67-72.

-418-

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