Archive for the ‘Roman Catholic’ category

Hungary lurches to the right

April 12, 2010

The Magyar Garda

Elections to the Hungarian Parliament have given seats to  26 members of the far-right Jobbik (see the current edition of our research quarterly Vista). The 31 year old leader says he will take his oath wearing the paramilitary uniform of the Magyar Garda (Hungarian Guard), linked with violent attacks on Roma communities in Hungary.

The majority of votes (52.8%) were won by the centre right party, Fidesz, which between 1998-2002 courted the support of Hungary’s majority Roman Catholic Church (5.5 million members according to the 2001 census) and the Reformed Church (1.6 million members in 2001) . The success of Fidesz is a reflection of the Socialist Party’s inability to deal with corruption and its own ¬†inability to govern effectively.

The churches of Hungary and a number of mission agencies are active among the Roma communities in Hungary. Their accommodation to the political changes will require wisdom and a keen Kingdom perspective as they work in welfare, community, church-planting, and evangelistic initiatives.

What is the Gospel for the poor of Poland?

March 12, 2010

According to recent reports from the OECD, Poland currently has the third highest rate of child poverty (26%) among OECD members. This despite Poland having the sixth largest economy in the EU. The Polish statistics agency noted that fewer than 3% of rural inhabitants had higher eduction and Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, found in January that a third of Poles ‘lived in poverty’.
An ENI report noted ‘Only a handful of paragraphs were devoted to social and economic problems in a 130-page bishops’ conference report on families in August. In addition poverty issues were not mentioned in a December pastoral letter or in a statement of the Polish bishops’ Pastoral Commission in January.’
Critics of this omission warn of a rift opening up between a wealthy and powerful elite and the ‘working poor’. When the church finds itself caught up in this kind of situation it’s time to re-read the gospels and think carefully about its choice of dining companions and how to introduce them to the host of the meal.