- April 2006 : Public funding of church schools
As a consequence of the parliamentary elections of April 2006, the discussion on the agreement on financial issues with the Holy See, signed in 1997 by the social-liberal government (the same coalition actually in power) was re-opened. Some liberal forces claim the modification or the annulment of the agreement, while the Catholic Church repeatedly stated that the State did not fulfill the obligations arising from the Agreement. Whereas on the one hand a mixed commission was set up to overview the implementation of the Agreement, the Government launched a research committee to provide sociological data on the reception of the Agreement. A report should be presented in September 2006.
After the parliamentary elections of April 2006, a new government structure has been set up. The liaison office of the government to religious communities has been transferred from the Prime Ministers’ Office to the Ministry of Education and Culture. The new head of the secretariat is a Lutheran pastor and assistant professor of a Lutheran University of Theology, András Csepregi.
One of the delicate issues that concerns also the 1997 Agreement with the Holy See is the funding of church run schools. Equal funding for public and church schools (in order to ensure free choice and to avoid double taxation) is guaranteed by law since 1990. Modalities of the funding are partly laid down in the 1997 Agreement. From 2005 on the annual budget is providing more and more titles of funding that exclude church-run institutions. Churches consider that the new calculation of subsidies to church-run schools are discriminative (unconstitutional) and violate the agreements concluded.
- Winter 2006 : ’Lustration’ again
Handling the archives of the former communist secret service seems to be a never ending story. A historian, Ungváry Krisztián published some results of his research, identifying the later primate of Hungary, Cardinal László Paskai as a collaborator of the services. Allegedly he filed reports as a professor of the Theological Academy in Budapest in the 1960ies and 1970ies, still before he became a bishop. Ungváry acknowledges, that his reports were not compromising, all were well intentioned, could not harm anyone. In the public discussion on the recent history it is still debated if agents are to be regarded as perpetrators, or rather as victims. The Bishops’ Conference launched a foundation to study the history of the Catholic Church during the Communist regime.