Prime Minister Janos Kadar of Hungary today visited the Pope and discussed Vatican-Hungarian relations during a private visit in the Vatican.
Prime Minister Janos Kadar of Hungary today visited the Pope and discussed Vatican-Hungarian relations during a private visit in the Vatican. Kadar in Italy, for a five-day official visit, during which he met with Italian leaders, Prime minister Giulio Andreotti and President Giovanni Leone.
Hungarian- Vatican relations in the past have been rather tense. Todays meeting is important because it indicates a normalisation of relations between the two states. Following the retirement (soon followed by his death) of anti-Communist Cardinal jozsef Mindszenty, the Vatican appointed ArchBishop Laszlo Lakai to succeed him. Lekai has adopted a softer line towards the Communists.
There had been decades of tension between the Vatican and Hungary because of the brutal treatment of Mindszenty, who was arrested in Budapest in 1948 and ??? and tortured on charges of treason. During the 1956 uprisings, Mindszenty took refuge in the American embassy in Budapest until he was exiled to Vienna in 1971.
Things have changed, however, since the Lekai appointment. Two months ago Pope Paul expressed satisfaction that all Hungaria dioceses were now headed by a Bishop He told Hungarian Bishops that a number of important problems still remained to be solved despite encouring signs of improved relations.
This was the first time that Prime Minister Kadar has seen the Pope. He was also on his first visit to a Nato member and European Community state.