Hungarian PM Extols Catholicism, St. John Paul II at Conservative Conference

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by Martina Moyski  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 12, 2020   

Viktor Orbán explains threats to national sovereignty in Europe

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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán explained at a recent European conference on conservatism what it takes to have a "big" political party that can protect a country's national interests.

Orbán entertained his audience with wit, political insights and unique historical perspective in an interview in Rome as part of the National Conservatism Conference highlighting the theme "God, Honor, Country: President Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and the Freedom of Nations."

Orbán called the interview with Chris DeMuth of the Edmund Burke Foundation Nations "a pleasure and a privilege."

 


DeMuth began the interview by asking Orbán to react to the three major persons of the 1989 "political trinity": Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Pope St. John Paul II.

He said when he first met Margaret Thatcher her first words were "I totally disagree with you" and his reply was "Good Morning!"
 
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PM Viktor Orbán
The prime minister referred to a "sentence of Ronald Reagan" that "changed the world." In announcing a new geopolitical strategy toward the communists, he [Reagan] said to his advisors, "We win, they lose." 
 
"That is a very important moment, because until that moment the concept of the West was to keep the balance with the communists and the Soviet Union, which means that the target was not to win, just to peacefully coexist," Orbán added. "And he changed and said that we will win, which means that the captive nations, as we were, became free again."
 
Of Pope St. John Paul II he said he considers the "Holy Father" not only the pope of the Vatican but also the "biggest defender of the Central European nations on the world stage."
 
After the defeat of the Soviets, "the Holy Father sent a medal to me," he said, "which is the highest decoration," adding, "And as far as I remember, no Calvinist got it since." And the message was that you got it not for what you have done up to now, but for what you will do."
 
Explaining the slide of the European People's Party (EPP) in a liberal-left direction and how it threatens conservatives in Europe, he said: 
The EPP would like to be part of the power structure of the European Union by any means. And if the price of that is to give up certain values, in order to make a compromise with the Left, they do so. And then we are losing our identity step by step. We became a centrist and then liberal and leftist oriented political family. ... If we don't stand up and say: 'guys, we are losing our values, we are losing our profile, we don't know who we are anymore,' and the people who are our voters are not able to identify us. ...
What pushes the move to the left, he explains, is "the media, the pressure, the universities, the intellectual life" which "will push you to give up more and more elements of your original ideology, or your original principles and values."
 
Regarding the migration crisis, he says: "The liberal governments failed to protect their own citizens. They failed to protect their own borders and the security of their own citizens, and stop illegal migration, so it means that liberal governments failed."
 
As to his political strategy, Orbán said:

I would not like to educate anybody because circumstances are so different in all countries. But the number one precondition to be successful in politics is braveness. Bravery to take the risk. If you don't stand up and don't say what you think whatever the consequences may be, you will never be a leader, and you will never have a big party. 

We have to have very a sharp, always-on-the-alert attitude to politics, because anything can happen anytime. If you look at Hungarian history, we were occupied by the Muslims, by the Ottomans, I mean, by the Germans and by the Soviet Union and the Russians.

Small countries cannot afford not to have great leaders. Small ... countries cannot afford not to have smart leaders. That is a privilege of the great countries.

The universal Catholic approach is the only one ... which appreciates and accepts national sovereignty.
Asked what distinguishes Hungary and the Hungarians, the prime minister said: "The Hungarians are very complicated ... because it is a nation without any relatives in the European Union," adding:

When the prime ministers of the European Union meet with each other regularly, I am the only prime minister who doesn't understand the languages of anybody else. The majority of the prime ministers understands the language of at least one or two other countries, but I am the only one who is alone always, because we Hungarians got here in a miracle way. We are an Eastern nation which moved to the West and survived 1,000 years ago.

Orbán gave a nod to the Catholic Church and its fit with the idea of a Christian democratic Europe:

The reason why we think that Christian democracy is a good description for us is that the universal Catholic approach is the only one — I am a Calvinist, anyway — the only one which appreciates and accepts national sovereignty. It ... considers sovereign states valuable.

"OK, I am not an expert in America, but if I understand American politics correctly, many people hate Donald Trump more than they love their own nation, but in Hungary, probably there are some people who hate me more than how much they like the nation," he said of a U.S.-Hungarian difference. "In Hungary, loving the nation is a must."

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