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Pressed By a Double Loyalty

Hungarian Attendance at the Second Vatican Council, 1959-1965

András Fejérdy

András Fejérdy works at the Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, posted currently at the Accademia d’Ungheria in Rome

The Second Vatican Council is the single most influential event in the twentieth-century history of the Catholic Church. The book analyzes the relationship between the Council and the “Ostpolitik” of the Vatican through the history of the Hungarian presence at Vatican II.

Pope John XXIII, elected in 1958, was a catalyst. He thought that his most urgent task was to renew contacts with the Church behind the iron curtain.

Hungary, too, did not consider Vatican II primarily an ecclesiastical event. It was considered a component of the negotiations between the Holy See and the Kádár regime: Hungarian participation at the Council was made possible by the new pragmatic attitude in Hungarian church politics. After the crushing of the 1956 Revolution, churches in Hungary thought that the regime would last and were willing to compromise. During the Council Hungary became the experimental laboratory of the Vatican’s new eastern policy. Fejérdy tries to establish whether it was it a Vatican decision or a Soviet instruction.

440 pages, 2017
978-963-386-142-4 cloth
$60.00 / €52.00 / £40.00

Table of contents

Foreword Preface List of Abbreviations Introduction

Part I. — The (Ante-) Preparatory Phase of the Council (1959 – 1962)

1. The Holy See

1.1. John XXIII and the Council
1.2. The supreme pontiffs and Communism
1.3. The Holy See and Hungary
1.4. Efforts to ensure Hungarian participation in the Council

2. The Hungarian People ’ s Republic

2.1. A shift in ecclesiastical policy
2.2. The place of the Holy See in Hungarian ecclesiastical policy
2.3. The Hungarian People ’ s Republic and the issue of Council attendance
2.4. A decision is reached in Hungary

3. The Catholic Church in Hungary

3.1. The state of the Hungarian Catholic Church in the period of preparations
3.2. Hungarian council recommendations
3.3. The Hungarian bishops and the question of Council attendance

Part II. — Hungary and the Holy See during the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1959)

1. The Holy See: Council and Ostpolitik

1.1. The Second Vatican Council and the Catholic Church: Ecclesia ad intra
1.2. The council and humanity: Ecclesia ad extra
1.3. Vatican Ostpolitik at the time of the Council
1.4. Modus non moriendi in Hungary

2. The Hungarian People ’ s Republic: Council and “ Vatican policy ”

2.1. The means of achieving total control
2.2. Goals to be achieved through attendance at the Council

3. Controlled Freedom: The Hungarian Catholic Church and the Second Vatican Council

3.1. The council delegation
3.2. Hungarian contributions to the work of the Council
3.3. Negotiations with the Holy See

Part III. — Epilogue: After the Council

1. Holy See: Dialogue and Ostpolitik

1.1. Dialogue after the Council
1.2. The Holy See and Hungary after the Council

2. The Hungarian People ’ s Republic

2.1. Political appraisal of the Second Vatican Council
2.2. The reception of the Council by the state in Hungary

3. Hungarian Church

3.1. Learning about the Council
3.2. Practical reception
3.3. Theological reception

Summary Chronology

Annex 1. Hungarian participants in the Second Vatican Council and their escorts
Annex 2. Hungarian Council Fathers de iure and de facto
Annex 3. Hungarian contributions to the work of the Council

Sources and Bibliography Index