VICTOR ORBAN AS A DEFENDER OF FAITH
JERZY ROBERT NOWAK
In Poland we hardly know anything about the role of Victor Orban for the sake of renewal of Europe in the Christian spirit. Whereas there is no politician in Europe today who could be on the same level as Victor Orban in this sphere. Grzegorz Górny, the editor-in- chief of ‘Fronda’, who knows Hungarian issues very well, once wrote that it is thanks to Orban, his charism and engagement in promoting Christian ideals that we have strong Christianity in Hungary today which is more laic than Poland. In this place, I would like to claim for the significance of missionary speeches of Orban, his consequent pronouncements for the sake of strengthening the role of Christianity and criticism of aggressive secularism in the EU at various congresses and meetings abroad. We should recall his speeches at congresses of the Catholics in Madrid in 2012 and in Bilbao in 2013, at a conference in Berlin in 2014 and during debates in the European Parliament in Brussels, in Cleveland in 2004 during a meeting in Gniezno in 2003 and at the Warsaw University in 2013. A similar threat characterized many interviews of Orban conducted for western periodicals. In addition, we can see the significance of Orban’s actions for the sake of an extremely modest and direct dialogue with Catholic hierarchs and protestant preachers to such an scale in which no other Christian politician in contemporary Europe was equal with him. In order to remind a famous debate on TV in Kaposvara in 2005, between Viktor Orban and a Catholic bishop Balas Bela and a pastor Zoltan Balogi. That debate had an enormous resonance in the Hungarian society. After it, a lot of Holy Masses were ordered in the intention of successful missions of Orban. And there is one more genuine feature of the situation in Hungary, not presented in Poland so much – the significance of clear support of Churches for the policy of renewal of Hungary pursued by Orban.
In 1998 members of the first government of Viktor Orban and a lot of MPs began their work after the common prayer in the church. From there they went to the building of the parliament. Since then once a month MPs of coalition parties – Fidesz and the Christian-Democratic People’s Party – have been meeting for a prayer in one of churches near the parliament, the Catholics and Protestant priests for a change.
Viktor Orban: ‘There must be Christian renewal of Europe’.
Orban’s multilateral and laborious activity of introducing revolutionary reforms in Hungary was accompanied by his pronouncements abroad for the sake of renewal of faith, patriotism and the national country.
What was particularly significant in this respect was a really programming lecture of the prime minister Orban during the XIV Congress of Catholics and Public Life in Madrid, at University of St. Paul, in November 2012. The topic of the congress was: ‘Hope and Christian response to the crisis’. In his lecture, Orban strongly emphasized the fact that the crisis spreading in Europe, had been caused by the sources which were not economic but spiritual. He said: - ‘In today’s Europe also forms of human relationships, like nation or family have been questioned. (…) Europe – mainly in politics – began to be ashamed of its roots. Therefore in the basic European document there is no reference to Christianity (…). Today we have got a situation in which most European politicians are working on it, and doing everything to push Christianity aside into private life of people, into churches about history. If in one of Islamic countries one began to be ashamed of Koran teaching, then it would cause anger of other Islamic countries. If in India somebody began to question the basis of Hinduism (…), soon it would mean lack of understanding. Whereas in Europe, day by day, I notice that misunderstanding rather touches those who want to think and behave according to Christian values in political and social life.
Viktor Orban: ‘European Community, representing Christian values, would never let countries sink in slavery debts in loans’.
In order to emphasize the need of bringing back Christian dominance in Europe, Orban said: - There are a lot of us in Europe (…), who have the common purpose in order to build new Europe again, on permanent basis of Christianity. (…) Hungary has been taking this way since the year 2010 (…) We created a new Constitution whose first chapter sounds: ‘National Confession of Faith’. (…) The first verse of this constitution sounds: ‘God, bless Hungary!’. (…) We prepared this constitution because we thought that in order to defend our national identity, we had to oppose to political and spiritual forces, aiming at pushing away Christian culture, Christian civilization and Christian values. We knew that it would cause a fight.
Ending his reflections, Orban said: -‘ Although it was really difficult, we managed to create the constitution based on Christianity and in conditions of political democracy in Hungary which is a religiously neutral country. In my opinion, the Hungarian example – is an encouragement for every Christian politician.
Next Orban reminded the gathered, that the European leftist party has done an aggressive attack on Hungary in the European Parliament in Strasburg because of the significance of the Hungarian constitution. He explained – Our sin is that in the end of the first ten years of the XXI century we dared to express in the constitution that religion, Church, nation and family do not belong to the past but to our future. And this is the reason for the strong attack, motivated by hatred which we are observing in whole Europe towards the Hungarian constitution and towards its makers. (…) We think (…) that the policy is based on Christian values will lead to the renewal of Europe. We believe in what Robert Schuman said: ‘Europe will be Christian or it will not exist’. We think that we, politicians, whom God placed in this fight as guardians of Europe, have a duty to return the deep Christian significance to our worn out values. (All quotations from a lecture of Orban: ‘Orban Viktor elodas Madridban’ – a lecture of Viktor Orban in Madrid, Magyar Kurir, 23 November 2012).
Viktor Orban: ‘European identity does not make sense without the Bible’.
One of the most important pronouncements of Orban on the role of Christianity was a lecture ‘Christian answer to challenges of Europe’ – given in Bilbao on 15 April 2013 during an official visit in Spain. During the lecture the prime minister Orban definitely emphasized that Europe is the only continent in the world today, where a big part of political elites think that they are able to organize the world without God or God’s laws. He said: - Today in the European politics there is a domineering vision of aggressive secularism, which is called a progress. In Brussels there are most people who want this future. In reality, they are working for building the society deprived of God, the society in which religion is only an addition to the private lifestyle. Arguing against this kind of the phenomena, the prime minister Orban said: ‘European identity does not make sense without the Bible. The Europeans cannot deprive themselves of Christianity and also people in Brussels should understand it.
Viktor Orban: ‘Hearts of many Europeans are hurt by the lack of appreciation of Christianity roots in EU’.
Another time, the prime minister Orban gave a speech in defence of Christian values during an international conference organized on 8 May 2014 in Berlin, by the German Television WDR and EU institutions. He said: ‘Heart of many Europeans are hurt by the lack of appreciation of Christianity roots. He emphasized that ‘Christianity is not only religion, but also culture on which we built our civilization’. He spoke about the notion of family connected with the role of Christianity and expressed his definite attitude against attempts of relativizing this notion. In his opinion, in Christian Europe ‘the notion of family should be based not on intercourse of the same-sex people but on marriage of a man and a woman’.