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Post Religion and the New Constitution
Created by John Eipper on 02/07/12 5:09 PM

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Religion and the New Constitution (Edward Jajko, USA, 02/07/12 5:09 pm)

I have only, for lack of time, quickly scanned most of Hungary's law on religions (see Vincent Littrell, 5 February), but with a fairly careful reading of the concluding section, which lists those faiths and sects that are authorized under the law.

The first on the list is the Hungarian Catholic Church, or the Catholic Church in or of Hungary. I don't understand how the Benedictines, Marists, and Carmelites, as well as Opus Dei, can be banned or at least no longer function as "state-approved." They are not in themselves religions, or denominations, or anything other than part of the Roman Catholic Church, which is the first church or faith that is officially recognized. They are religious orders (and the Benedictines, at least, are not small), which is to say communities of priests and lay brothers, or of nuns, who live under vows, according to the rules set by their founders, and in union with the Pope.

Opus Dei is not a religion or denomination, or even a religious order, but a "personal prelature," a mixed community of priests and laity, some of whom live under vows and in community, while most live under simpler vows and in the world. The Benedictines and Carmelites have, in addition to those members just mentioned, "third order" members who are lay people who live their ordinary lives, married or unmarried, but under religious vows. If the Benedictines, Marists, and Carmelites have been ousted from being able to operate with state approval, then perhaps so have Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Augustinians, Camaldolese, Carthusians, Cistercians, and others. There are thousands of religious orders in the Roman Catholic Church. There is not one single Benedictine order. There is OSB, but also the "reformed" order, and a host of other orders that trace their origins back to St. Benedict of Nursia, the founder of Western monasticism.

I find this Hungarian law mind-boggling. Have the Hungarians forgotten Cardinal Mindszenty?

JE comments:  On József Cardinal Mindszenty, see the following.  I just learned that there is a Mindszenty monument in Santiago (Chile).  Too bad I didn't have the chance to see it.


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