Is Hungary's "Christian" Government Doomed to Suffer some Holy Karma - courtesy of Pope Francis?
Christ, the Gospels say, is to return like a "thief in the night" - Pope Francis is currently planning something similar, but in broad daylight.
Photo: Pope John Paul II arrives at Heroes' Square, Budapest in August, 1991. Here he is seen passing the VIP section, but in truth, I can't recognise anyone in this section, although the fellow by His Holiness' forehead does look familiar. (I have a photo a few seconds later showing then Budapest Mayor Gabor Demszky and Finance Minister Mihály Kupa, but I can't find the pic.)
Well, dear readers, somehow this blog is still functioning, despite my not having paid my annual dues for the next 12 months. Perhaps it is a little miracle meant for just a few more hours so I can get this blog post out. Whatever, I thought I'd draw notice to this little story.
The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán frequently declares itself to be a "Christian" administration, steadfastly defending the values of the Galillean carpenter who walked this earth some two millenia ago.
Well, it certainly gives an awful lot of money to the churches - well, certain favoured ones, that is - and we're talking millions of euro here, along with all sorts of perks to those involved: official clergy pay no personal income tax, as I understand it.
But it seems that you can't buy indulgencies these days, not only for the next life, but worse still, they don't even work for the present one.
Now the government has its critics, of course (just imagine that!), some of whom use the word "hypocritical" in their analyses when dealing with the Orban's professed words and his practical policies on such issues as the treatment of (foreign) asylum seekers, the treatment of the (Hungarian) poor and Roma, and even the enrichment of some close, if terribly hard-working, business friends who have been talented enough to make the odd hundred million euros from state contracts in the past decade.
Most such critics are dismissed as disgruntled or deceived, pinko-liberal lefties - that is when they are adressed at all: most of the time, like non-government friendly and foreign media, they are largely ignored.
But it seems Orban's controversial application of Christian values may have reached the ears of some important folk in the traditional Christian centres of power - well, let's be specific here, none other than the Vatican - and, shock! Horror! - they've not been received too well.
For His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to attend the closing Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress taking place in Budapest this September.
For sure, when this news first came in, they would have been breaking open the cases of Tokaj aszu 5 puttonyos in the Castle in celebration.
Imagine - Pope Francis in Budapest, they would have been fighting for places in the queue for the photo op!
Except, it now transpires that according to current plans, his Holiness will stay in Budapest for but an hour or two, before driving on to Slovakia for a three-day visit. He will not be meeting President Ader, nor Prime Minister Orbán, at least not on their turf, as it were. (Such dignatories may pop down to Heroes' Square, I suppose.)
Naturally, deep in their hearts, PM Orban, all his Fidesz-Christian Democrat allies, along with the Hungarian Catholic hierarchy, will rejoice that their neighbouring Slovak Christian brothers and sisters can enjoy the personal guidance of the Holy Father for such a long period - but word has it that there is a teeny-weeney little bit of a let-down feeling among them that this is a, well, to put it mildly - a right unholy snub.
But this is not my story: the source of this little tale is Edward Pentin, a genuine expert on Vatican affairs, and you can read his story here:
Photo: Clergy await the arrival of Pope John Paul II - Heroes' Square, Budapest, 1991.
It's an interesting article, I think you'll agree, although I must admit I disagree with this part:
“Something is not right here, at least from the point of view of diplomacy and protocol,” wrote Luis Badilla, editor of Il Sismografo, a news aggregator run by the Vatican Secretariat of State.
Dear Luis, I would deign to say that not a few in Hungary would say that something here - for once - is PERFECTLY IN ACCORD with the wishes of the pesky man who upset the authorities in Judea-Samaria-Palestine all those years ago.
Of course, I'm not a Vatican correspondent, so I wouldn't want to comment personally, but I am reminded of a couple of passges from the Bible - if I can google them to get them correctly - ah yes, here, Galatians 6.7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
There's also this little gem, which, however talented a Christian business man might be in winning state contracts, might be worth a pause for consideration (Luke 8.17):
For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
Being an old-f*** conservative, I've used the King James version of the Bible here, which is, I'm sure, the preferred version of Fidesz-KDNP MPs, and their businessmen friends.
I confess that I'm tempted to look up another verse which goes something like: Vengeance is Mine, sayeth the Lord - but that's probably enough for now. (And I wouldn't want anyone to even think of that lovely English term Schadenfreude.)
Here endeth the blog post.