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Home/Rod Dreher/Orban Protects Euro Christianity Better Than Pope

Orban Protects Euro Christianity Better Than Pope

In scathing 2018 address to European Parliament, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban declares, 'Hungary will not be a country of migrants.' (Watch the speech here)

I know some of you think this spot has become a Viktor Orban stan blog, but I gotta say, once you live in Central Europe, as I have been doing for the past two months, it really opens your eyes as to how unfairly people and countries here are treated by the West. The latest example of that comes via this report from National Catholic Register‘s Edward Pentin, who writes:

Pope Francis’ planned visit to Hungary in September is threatening to cause a diplomatic rift after it has emerged the Holy Father may only stay three hours in the country, omit a courtesy visit to Hungary’s president, and then spend a possible three and a half days in neighboring Slovakia.

According to sources in the Vatican and Hungary, efforts are being made to convince the Pope to stay in Hungary beyond the morning of Sept. 12 where he will celebrate the closing Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress taking place in the capital Budapest.

They are also trying to persuade the Pope from intentionally skipping courtesy visits to the country’s president, János Áder, a Catholic, and its Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, as well as customary addresses to civic and political leaders — despite persistent invitations by the Hungarian government for the Pope to make a state visit.

“Political tensions behind the scenes are due to the Vatican wanting to avoid any political meetings, including visiting the Presidential Palace in Budapest which should be part of the package,” an informed source in Budapest told the Register June 2.

“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.

According to the latest proposed itinerary, the Pope will be driven straight from the airport to the congress venue of Heroes’ Square in central Budapest. After the closing Mass, he is expected to leave for the Slovakian capital Bratislava.

This would be a staggering snub of the Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. And it would be carried out by a pontiff who had no problem meeting with the Communist dictators of Cuba (and for the record, I have no problem with that). He met with Emma Bonino, Italy’s most noted abortion rights advocate (I do have a problem with that, though.)

It’s easy to imagine that Francis doesn’t like Orban. Francis believes Europe should throw open its doors to Third World immigrants; Orban believes that would be the death of Europe. The Catholic journalist John L. Allen Jr. has written that the plight of migrants is the cornerstone of Francis’s papacy.  Francis has refused to meet with leading Italian politician Matteo Salvini in protest of Salvini’s anti-immigration views and policies. This is clearly why Francis refuses to meet with Orban.

If I were Orban (a Calvinist, though his wife and kids are Catholic), I would wear that as a badge of honor. You can make a case that his policies have done more to protect Europe’s Christianity than the pontiff’s. Hear me out.

At the height of the 2015 refugee crisis, Orban wrote an op-ed in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung laying out his own position. From the Guardian’s report:

“Everything which is now taking place before our eyes threatens to have explosive consequences for the whole of Europe,” Orbán wrote in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Europe’s response is madness. We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation.

“Irresponsibility is the mark of every European politician who holds out the promise of a better life to immigrants and encourages them to leave everything behind and risk their lives in setting out for Europe. If Europe does not return to the path of common sense, it will find itself laid low in a battle for its fate.”

More:

Orbán said the razor-wire fence erected on Hungary’s southern border with Serbia was essential to defending the Schengen zone’s external borders. He denied that the emergency was a refugee crisis, but one of mass migration.

“Those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims,” he said. “This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity.

“Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian? There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders.”

In 2018, Orban gave an interview to the German newspaper Bild. Excerpt:

BILD: Now the EU is not only based on law, but also on solidarity: Why can Germany accept 2 million refugees, but Hungary not 2000?

Orbán: “The difference is that they wanted the migrants. And we don’t. [Note: He is referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel opening Germany’s borders in 2015, and taking in one million migrants. — RD] We do our job by protecting the Schengen external border with Serbia. That has cost us an additional billion euros since 2015 and Brussels doesn’t pay us a cent. In any case, the solution to the problem is certainly not to distribute people who are illegally in the EU throughout the EU. We think you have to help where the problem is and not bring the immigrants here. ”

BILD: Why don’t Hungarians want refugees?

Orbán: “We don’t see these people as Muslim refugees. We consider them to be Muslim invaders. To get to Hungary from Syria, for example, you have to cross four countries, all of which are not as rich as Germany, but are stable. So you are already not running for your life there. It is also proven by the fact that they are economic migrants looking for a better life. ”

BILD: Is that why one is worth less as a human being?

Orbán: “If someone wants to come to your house – they knock on the door and ask: Can we come in, can we stay? They didn’t do that, they broke the border illegally. It wasn’t a wave of refugees, it was an invasion. When it came to migration, I never understood how in a country like Germany — which for us is the best example of discipline and the rule of law — chaos, anarchy and the illegal crossing of borders could be celebrated as something good. ”

BILD: Is it our own fault?

Orbán:  “The refugee issue is politically a European problem, but sociologically it is a German problem. Since you mentioned the EU refugee quota: Why was the Portuguese Prime Minister able to shout: “Welcome, come to us !?” Because no refugee wants to go to Portugal, everyone wants to go to Germany! The reason the people are in your country is not because they are refugees, but because they want a German life.

But I can only speak for the Hungarian people and that doesn’t want migration. As I understand it, it is not possible for the people to have a will on a fundamental issue, and the government refuses to do it. We are talking about the sovereignty and cultural identity of the country. We have to uphold the right to be able to decide who can live on Hungarian territory. ”

BILD: Apparently it shouldn’t be Muslims …

Orbán:  “We believe that a high number of Muslims necessarily leads to parallel societies, because Christian and Muslim societies will never combine. Multiculturalism is just an illusion. We don’t want that. And we don’t want anything to be forced upon us. Take Budapest as a positive example: a cosmopolitan melting pot with no parallel society. “

Don’t say that the Hungarians don’t care about charity. In 2019, they established Hungary Helps, a foreign relief agency under the Prime Minister’s office.

The situation with the migrants is morally excruciating — everybody must see that. But it is also crystal-clear that most of these migrants are not fleeing war, but are economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. The Pope is to be commended for his compassion to them, but you cannot maintain a country or a civilization through open-borders sentimentality. I am sure the Pope is sincere, but his policies would destroy Europe, and put a final stake through the heart of a European Christianity that is practically on its deathbed.

On a more minor matter, but still a significant one, Pope Francis has preached against gender ideology, correctly calling it “demonic.” One of the only European countries to have done something to fight it in law is — world of wonders! — Viktor Orban’s Hungary. In 2018, Orban’s government defunded and disaccredited gender studies in the country’s universities. Last year, Hungary outlawed changing one’s sex on legal documents after birth. Last December, the Hungarian government amended the country’s constitution to define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman — as the Catholic Church teaches. Back in 2005, US lawmakers couldn’t even vote a Federal Marriage Amendment out of the Senate and send it to the states. But in 2020, Hungary amended its constitution to reflect moral truth — again, a moral truth proclaimed by the Catholic Church.

But Viktor Orban is too dirty for Pope Francis to meet.

Here’s a link to a big political speech Orban gave last autumn. I know my liberal readers will hate it, but conservatives, read it and see if you think this man is such a threat to Christian Europe that the Pope should shun him. Excerpts:

The basic tenets of Christian democratic and liberal thinking are diametrically opposed to each other. In their attacks liberals take aim at the very things that are most important to us, the cornerstones of the political order we wish for, the values at the core of conservative-Christian democratic heritage – such as the nation, the family and religious tradition.

There is a recognition that if things continue like this then Christian-conservative forces will be assisting in the weakening of nations, the elimination of religious traditions, and the debasement and mockery of the family. Here in Central Europe this recognition has risen to the level of public and state policy. Here the red warning light has lit up, we have activated the emergency brake, and – primarily in Poland and Hungary – we have rung the alarm bells.

More:

Liberal and conservative politics also clash – and even engage in a life-or-death struggle – on the issue of migration. According to loopy liberals, there is no reason to fear mass immigration, or even a flood of immigration; and there is no reason to fear it even if the national and religious traditions of the uninvited guests are starkly different from ours – or indeed opposed to ours. We are told that terrorism, crime, anti-Semitism and the emergence of parallel societies are only temporary irregularities, or perhaps the birth pangs of a radiant new world about to come into being. But the conservative-Christian democratic camp rejects such an unpredictable experiment on societies and individuals, because they believe that the risks of chronic intercultural tensions and violence are unacceptably high. Unless we ignore the laws of mathematics, it is not difficult to see the reality of sure, slow, but accelerating population replacement.

There are also irreconcilable differences in education policy. According to conservatives we must focus on characteristic national traditions, and the purpose of education is for our children to be capable of becoming patriots who can carry forward our tried and tested traditions. At the same time, Christian democrats also expect schools to reinforce the sex identity that the Creator has conferred on each child at birth: to help girls become fine and admirable women; and to help boys become men who are able to provide security and support for their families. Schools should protect the ideal and values of the family, and should keep minors away from gender ideology and rainbow propaganda. Liberals see this as medieval backwardness at best, and as clerical fascism at worst. In their view the purpose of school education can only be to lead children towards their inner selves, making them capable of self-realisation, introducing them to the beauties of the universal political order, and therefore peeling away from them the enveloping layers of tradition inherited from the lives of their great-grandparents, grandparents and parents.

Liberals also believe – and for some mysterious reason this is what they defend most ardently – that the sufficient condition for just and morally grounded governance is general, universal reason, and there is no need whatsoever for absolute values revealed by God, and the religious and biblical traditions that have grown out of these. In fact, they say, a dividing wall must be built between church and government, and the influence of religion must be banished from the public sphere. Hungarian readers know little of the breadth, depth and bitter struggles of this debate which extends across the whole of Western civilisation. They believe that this is merely the sedimentary deposit of our Hungarian existence, or perhaps our existence as a “miserable small Central European state”. Therefore they cannot see – and perhaps cannot even appreciate – the unyielding and insightful basic principle in our national-Christian Constitution, according to which the state and church function on distinct parallel paths. Whilst preserving the autonomy of church and state, this seeks to replace separation with the integration of religion into the life of society, maintaining a spirit of tolerance for religious views. Indeed Christian democrats also believe that, in order to strengthen justice, public morals and the common good, the need for religion, biblical traditions and our churches is greater today than it has been for centuries.

I understand well why Jorge Bergoglio doesn’t want to meet with Viktor Orban. I don’t understand at all why the Roman pontiff refuses to do so.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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