The aftermath of an airstrike in Mykolaiv region, Ukraine The aftermath of an airstrike in Mykolaiv region, Ukraine 

Eastern European Bishops call for peace as war rages in Ukraine

With war raging in Ukraine, peace was the central theme of a just-concluded meeting of leaders of the Bishops' Conferences from Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest. They gathered in the Hungarian capital shortly after Hungary's prime minister opened a memorial center for the late Cardinal József Mindszenty.

By Stefan J. Bos - Budapest

The Hungarian Catholic Bishops' Conference said that its president, Bishop András Veres, took the Second Vatican Council's message to a two-day regional bishops conference in Budapest.

It says: "Peace is not the mere absence of war or the simple maintenance of a balance of power between forces, nor can it be imposed at the dictate of absolute power. It is called, rightly and properly, a work of justice." 

Archbishop Michael Wallace Banach, the Apostolic Nuncio to Hungary, noted that the Church is an institution that loves peace. The Vatican's representative also wondered: "What does the Church do for peace?" adding, "this is a question that must resonate in people's hearts." 

His appeal prompted Archbishop Gintaras Grusas of Vilnius to ask everyone "to pray for peace" in nearby Ukraine and the rest of Europe. That call for prayer was appreciated by Cardinal Mario Grech, the General Secretary of the Secretariat of the Synod, who highlighted the importance of peace.  

The conference participants also celebrated Mass in Budapest's famed Saint Stephen's Basilica, which was presided over by Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdő. The group also met with Hungary's President Katalin Novák.

They prayed in a nation where authorities say some 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees have arrived from war-torn neighboring Ukraine. Though most pass through Hungary, thousands were also accommodated here, with the support of churches. 

New center commemorating Cardinal Mindszenty

The gathering came after Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán opened a new center Sunday commemorating the late Hungarian Cardinal József Mindszenty, in the Hungarian city of Zalaegerszeg. 

It also came as Hungary remembered the crushed 1956 Revolution against Soviet rule, in which Cardinal Mindszenty played a vital role. 

The prime minister views the late Cardinal Mindszenty as a symbol of uncompromising opposition to fascism during World War Two and communism in Hungary. 

Following eight years in prison for his faith and political views, Cardinal Mindszenty was freed in the 1956 Revolution and granted political asylum by the United States' Embassy in Budapest, where he lived for fifteen years. He was eventually allowed to leave Hungary in 1971 and died in exile in 1975 in Vienna, Austria.

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27 October 2022, 16:46