by Luis Dufaur
Pascal Vigil in the Cathedral of Budapest. The Hungarian government is handing public education back to religious institutions.
The Hungarian government is transferring public schools to religious institutions, reported the French magazine L’Express.
This policy has infuriated socialist leaders within and outside Hungary and even in European countries where public education has had calamitous results. The angry complaints center on the fact that traditional morals are being restored with the help of Hungarian government policy.
Schools have brought back the singing of religious hymns as well as beginning the classes with prayer. And students’ parents get to choose the catechism to be taught to their children.
Churches retain their school subsidies regardless of the number of students. In the small town of Alsoörs, which L’Express presents as a typical case, out of a total of ninty-six families only two voted against transferring the school to the Church, underscoring the strong popular support this measure has.
Curiously enough, a Catholic priest, perhaps led by an ecumenical mentality or “dialogue” with the secularized world, after consulting with the bishop refused to take over a school.
The local Lutheran minister Miklos Rasky immediately agreed to do it and, very satisfied, said: “The current government is clinging to Christian values. This enables us to reconnect with our traditional role in the education field.”
The perplexed school teachers, the majority of whom are Catholic, were told by the pastor they will be replaced by Protestants.
Socialists are upset because traditional morals and values are now being taught in schools with government help. Isn't it the role of government to facilitate virtue?
Eighty schools have already been transferred by municipalities, which were also glad to no longer have to pay for these expenses that were unsustainable in the current crisis.
Leftist unions and political parties are also angry about the catechism classes now being given in schools that are still in state hands.
Education Minister Rozsa Hoffmann deplores the lack of moral values: “We want to restore them, whether it is protection of human life, respect for work and for the law, honesty and love of country. School is not just a place to gain knowledge: it must also transmit values,” he explained.
The education law fits into the context of the new Constitution which extols Christian values and rehabilitates the “Holy Crown” of Catholic Kings, the Hungarian incarnation of sovereign power.