Seeing social injustice Jesus spoke “firmly and to the point”, which gives the power to Christians today to “take a position on issues of public life individually or as a church”, Bishop Tamás Fabiny, head of the Hungarian Lutheran Church, told MTI on Tuesday.
Fabiny, at the same time, warned against “short circuits” of tying those positions to one or the other political party.
Referring to the 30th anniversary of Hungary’s democratic transition, the bishop said that Hungary’s churches had “not done too well” in dismantling the communist regime, and said in both the Nazi and communist regimes the churches “were often adrift” and were bent on meeting the requirements of the political system of the time.
“Learning from mistakes of the past we should have the courage to act and raise our voices,” he said.
In the current system, churches depend on financing from central coffers, but “believers should be made aware” that the “degree of independence from the state is partly determined by their readiness to donate”, the bishop said.
Fabiny suggested that
central budget regulations were “unpredictable”, and “churches may often feel that they receive support to the detriment of another church;
when one gets financing the other won’t” and warned against rivalry between church organisations. It is important to realise that “prosperity of one church will make another richer, too”. “Prosperity for the churches is prosperity for the country” and vice versa, he said.
Concerning persecuted Christians, Fabiny said that “their future determines the future of Europe’s Christians too”.
If Christians in the Middle East are defeated “it will make our life much more difficult”, he added.
“Their perseverance shows us how lazy we are in our Christianity; Europeans have become too comfortable and will burn everything on the altar of consumption”.
Fabiny said, however, that talking about the persecution of Christians in Europe was an exaggeration despite occasional “nuisances” such as offensive articles. He said he disapproved publication of such writings, but added that such texts will not lead to “petrol bombs thrown at anybody’s house”.
Fabiny also said he thought it hypocritical to compare “a secular Western world to a very religious Hungary”.
“We should not delude ourselves that we are pious; though in a different way, we are also secular,” the bishop said.