István Kamarás:





Religious people hold dual a citizenship, subjects both of God and of Caesar. They need not feel schizophrenic in consequence, nor do they have to serve two masters, as they may serve the Lord in both capacities. In Hungary, the construction of the anti-environmental Danube power plant at Nagymaros was prevented by a nation-wide protest movement even before the change in the political system. A spiritual power plant, however, had been operating at the same Nagymaros as early as 1971. This is where meetings of young Catholics were held, at first illegally, then quasi-legally, and from 1980, fully legally. How many people in Hungary aspire to such a dual citizenship? How do they experience their two-fold role? Are there enough spiritual power plants operating in Hungary?



In both a majority and a minority


While practically all Hungarians declared themselves adherants to one religious denomination or another at the end of the forties, today two-thirds of the population declare themselves believers. Although the percent of non-theists is only 5-7 %, only a quarter of believers are regular church-goers. The percent of believers among younger (20-50) people is rather low, only half of the percent among the elderly. There are great differences between younger and older churh-goers. The loss of religious faith was faster and deeper in Hungary than in any Western European country in the same period. All this is the result of worldwide secularisation combined with the atheism forced upon people by a Stalinist state. There has been, however, a religious renewal. The interest of young people in religion is growing, as is the number of intellectuals who think of themselves as believers. There are thousands of small religious communities and self-supporting units striving to realize a religious way of life. There is an increasing interest in religious knowledge and in religious art. As a result of two opposing trends, the spread of atheism has stopped and, since the change in the political system, a slight reversal can be anticipated.

For the past 40 years, denominational ratios appear to have stayed relatively steady. Forty years ago (when the denomination category still appeared on census forms) 70.5 per cent of Hungarians were Catholics, 21.9 per cent Calvinists, 5.2 per cent Lutherans, 1.5 per cent Jews, 0.4 per cent Greek Orthodox, O.4 per cent of other religions and 0.1 per cent professed no religion. In the past hundred years the proportions of Catholics has steadily grown, a trend that has continued during the past forty years. A new element is the rising number of those who are baptised but profess no religion and stay outside religious traditions and culture. (Among children, the proportion today is 30-35 per cent and the same proportion may reach the adult population by the onset of 21st century.) In the period of secularisation and enforced atheism, the Calvinists suffered the heaviest losses. Only half of those declaring themselves believers go to church even at Christmas or Easter, and the proportion of those practising their religion is less than a fifth. Among members of small denominations (in Hungary, mostly Baptists, Seven Day Adventists, or Pentecostals) this proportion is much higher, exceeding 70-80 per cent. The religious population is a minority in another respect as well: religious people are found mostly among the elderly, the uneducated, the poor, and the village-dwellers. Religious intellectuals are scarce and though a majority of the members in the present government are practising believers and the three parties of the governing coalition profess to be Christians, the current proportion of actively religious professionals is 2-4 per cent, [as against the general 10-15 per cent].

The consequences of a minority situation are often assimilation, a set of minority complexes, a pseudo-martyr role, a rejection of responsibility as well as a denial of the facts, based on the pretence that "we are still a Christian country."



Types of religiousness


Superficial observations would show that traditional religiousness is still alive in villages, while towns display a new type of intrinsic religious behaviour, characterised by the recognition of a minority status, a more absorbed spirituality, an increased intellectual interest, a sense of community and solidarity. Taking a closer look, however, it turns out that both the traditional and the new type of religiousness are in a minority. In towns as well as in villages,extrinsic (formal) religiousness prevails. The type rooted in folk customs and penetrating all the events of daily life is still alive, albeit only in small, self-contained villages. Even today, children in the countryside are more likely to be born into Christianity than those in towns; yet it is also true that more young people lapse from religion after confirmation in villages than in towns. The community and spiritual life in Hungarian villages is also undergoing a crisis, which is another reason why atheism has reached new levels in villages. At the same time, there are a growing number of cases where traditional religiousness is grafted onto the new type. In towns, especially in those of over 50,000 inhabitants, intrinsic religiousness is present mostly among secondary-school pupils and university graduates. In a considerable number of cases, these students' backgrounds is that of small communities.

Only a third of religious people declare themselves to be believers in terms of the doctrines of their church; the others think of themselves as religious after their own fashion. A majority of these latter believers do not practise their religion, lack a sense of identity with a congregation or parish, have minimal religious knowledge, and some are anticlerical. The rest, a clear minority, lead above average religious lives but feel their religion to be individual, cut to their personalities, and in some aspects they are critical of their church, particularly of its leaders.

The zone between religiousness and non-religiousness is broad. Some of those who are religious after their own fashion quickly drop out. Among university students, the proportion of those professing religion after their own fashion is two or three times that of those who follow the doctrines of a church. The number of these students is exceeded even by those who answer "I really consider myself to be a seeker of God." In this circle, the proportion of staunch atheists (an approximately equal number of materialists, non-materialists, and Marxist atheists) is

relatively small, a third or a quarter of those regard themselves as indifferent, unsure, pragmatic, free of ideologies, or rationalists. Pragmatists and rationalists have proved to be less responsive to such values as love, understanding, friendship, beauty, harmony, responsibility, tolerance, and justice.

I have had the opportunity to examine this dual citizenship as experienced by young Catholics and Protestants who, attending church schools or belonging to small religious communities, are more religious than average. One of these groups is characterised by a split personality of the "everything in its own place" approach, a schizophrenic state of mind of Sunday religion and weekday utilitarianism. The religiousness of the second group is best characterised by calling it laic. They question the authority of religion, churches, and the clergy in some important fields. The third group includes those of overzealous behaviour (we might even call them bigoted and dogmatic as well). They harbour prejudices concerning the world as a whole or some of its aspect. The members of the fourth group suffer a conflict in their dual citizenship. A fifth group includes people in whom the two citizenships are in harmony, with the transcendental and secular spheres welded into one. The overzealous strategy has an above average number of supporters among people professing traditional religion; the wordly and split strategies attract mainly people of extrinsic religiousness; those of intrinsic religiousness can be found chiefly in the conflict-ridden or harmonious groups.



The main characteristics of Hungarian religious life


In his analysis of Hungarian post-World War II religious development M. Tomka (the leading sociologist in Hungarian sociology) verifies six tendencies:

  1. Hungarian social history of the past 50-60 years may be ordered into five (I would say six) consecutive intervals on the basis of relations between society and the political power: a) the pre-modern pre-World War II society, with a prevailing rural and community-type "peasant society" b) a society under totalitarian rule in the late forties and early fifties (in my opinion, the late forties were a transition period from controlled possibilities into total dictatorship), c) a Communist version of a consumer society in the sixties and seventies, d) the period of "liberalisation" and decomposition of communism in the eighties, e) a Post-Communist society.
  2. The history of religions and church-life may be divided into five (or six) stages respective of five dominant tendencies of religious development similar to socio-political periods: a) widespread popular piety, a well organised system of religious groups and movements in a very strong Church (which was in a very close relationship with the state) and a high level of religious participation; b) churches became oppositional and nonconformist, and therefore targets of religious persecution; c) the strategy of survival avoided explicit confrontation, but the persecution continued with the pursuit of the members of underground religious movements (first of all the basis communities); d) rapid de-Christianisation came to an unexpected end in 1978; e) the final stage was introduced with an overall sympathy for religion, which later became diminished. Now the churches are participants in a very strong competition, they are undecided as to whether they should take part in social affairs or not. After decades of discrimination, believers are not ready to participate in political life.
  3. Paralleling this religious development, the dominant principle of the social functioning of the Church changed in the same 5 or 6 steps: a) churches possessed a religious monopoly and were strongholds of national culture (which is a traditional, rural one), b) political polarisation strengthened the unity both among and within the churches; c) churches lost public support and they had no choice but to accept the Communist system as a given reality, with the Church becoming a two-level system: an official organisation and an individual and communal entity; d) religious persecution provoked the emergence of underground activities from the beginning of Communism, and religion and the Church worked for decades in dispersion, as a world of "islands," without connections. The congregations and the very few denominational schools as well as the small basis-groups were islands without bridges; e) today the churches are acknowledged as important social and cultural movements, but they are not ready for serious social roles.
  4. Atomisation of society and isolation of individuals by Communism nurtured mistrust and tensions between people with different life experiences, therefore different generations have trouble understanding each other.
  5. All stages of religious development gave support to religious conservatism, which in Catholicism is a pre-Vatican II position.



New religious phenomena in Hungary


The sixth characteristic of the present day religious life of Hungary in M. Tomka's analysis is in connection with "sects." In Hungary, in the eyes of ordinary citizens old and new sects, cults, new religious movements, and the New Age movements (and mostly the movements within traditional churches) are "sects" and the meaning of "sect" is a group which is dangerous to society. M. Tomka's thesis is: the anti-sects position of big churches and the anti-big-church position of small denominations are parts of their identity formation under the conditions of competiting with each other and of political manipulation. I agree, but I have experienced in my empirical investigations that the anti-sectism among believers of big churches is stronger than anti-big-churchism among the members of new religious movements. The members of one-third of the new movements are not only tolerant, but they feel sympathy toward big ("historical") churches. I think that the majority of members of the new religious movements have a stronger identity than the majority of members of big churches.

It also seems to me that the membership of the new religious movements in Europe is slowly diminishing. From the thousands of members of the Unification Church, The Family, and others, today only hundreds are left. At the same time, in post-Communist countries millions of people starving for pity and spirituality fall into an ideological vacuum, moreover after the honeymoon of liberation. So, one of results of the political change has been a general uneasiness and many people judge the "sects" as an effect of unlimited, dangerous Western influence, threatening traditional values and ways of life.

Those new religious movements which have appeared in post-Communist countries are both the same ones and not the same ones, because most of them are a mixture, having the characteristics of the first and the second generations of these movements. Their missionaries arriving from Western countries have experienced being in the minority. They now advise young members to continue learning and working, to maintain connections with their parents, and not to be in contflict with the majority of society. Today, the eastern members of the new religious movements do not know the founders of the movement, but in many cases meet only with an organisation. The majority of the members do not live in a socially, economically or politically disadvantageous position, rather they feel themselves in a position of spiritually dispossession. The ideological vacuum in Hungary is advantageous for new churches, new religious movements. The size of membership of the eighty formally recognised and the other fifty-sixty new religions, churches, groups, communities and movements is only 1-2 % of adults, but they have much media coverage. The largest new church is a Pentecostal-type, the Congregation of Faith, with 30,000 members, with a spirit of "pray and embark on a business" and with ecstatic rituals. The second largest one is the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (or Mormons, as they are commonly known) with 3,000-4,000 members.



Devotees of Krishna in Hungary


In the eyes of ordinary citizens the Krishna-believers seem to be a sect. From the point of view of many sociologists in religion the Hare Krishna movement founded by Praphupada is a typical new religious movement. Although this movement has some of the signs of a new religious movement, I think that the ISKCON movement and the other similar Krishna-movements are not sects, but a type of renewal movements of an ancient religion, as was, for example, the Catholic charismatic renewal movement. The Community of Hungarian Devotees of Krishna Consciousness is the biggest1 and most popular group of religions of Hinduism in Hungary.2 While in the West mystical religiousness turns into ascetic virtue, and even contemplation cannot prevent the predominance of activity, Oriental contemplative mysticism is not an instrument of God but a receptacle of God, and thus avoids activity. And if it wants to adjust to the world as a contemplative mystic, it looks at the activity inside the world as a temptation, against which the state of grace must be preserved, and so activity decreases to a minimum. Krishna Consciousness seems to be a form of asceticism which in some way adjusts to the world but at the same time rejects it, is located somewhere on the borderline of Oriental contemplation and Western asceticism (which works to change the world as God's instrument), and can be characterised by the features of both. The salvation methodology of Krishna devotees who act, distribute books, and preach greatly resembles Western asceticism, which propagates salvation. (Mystical contemplation is replaced by a dionysian ecstatic kirtan and in a sense a magic feeding and clothing of God statues.)

Today communication between Krishna devotees and the man on the street or representatives of sciences and of other religions is far from being problem-free. Krishna devotees in Hungary will have to give some thought to the fact that a dialogue with other sciences and religions is just as constructive, if not more so, as friendly smiles.

The circumstances and the quality of Krishna intellectuals are keys to the

future. We do not know if the Krishna Church will need serving specialists more, or if rather they will need intellectuals who think autonomously (obviously within limits), who are constantly critical, willing to reinterpret even the sacred scriptures and to take an anti-fundamentalist position. It seems inevitable that the intelligentsia of Vedic culture become here, in Europe and in Hungary, the intelligentsia of European culture -- in so far as Krishna Consciousness wants to be a scholarly missionary (and it seems so).

A fundamental question, which Sharma also raises is: what measure of compromise will develop between Vaisnavas and the western narrative; that is, how much will Krishna devotees listen to Gandhi's warning that "to swim in the waters of tradition is good, but to drown in them is suicide"?

Finally, the ultimate question is 'inculturation,' that is, the ability or inability of the Hare Krishna movement to establish an 'intimate' relationship with European and Hungarian culture. Referring to ancient Hungarians as being close to Vedic culture is as questionable and risky as, and this also happened, using the example of UFOs to back Vedic culture. A radical alienation from the dominant culture, if there were such phenomena at the time of the first Christians, is rather alien to the Christian way of thinking. In the history of Christianity the conviction became more and more dominant that Jesus works in culture and through culture. Several experts think that the Hare Krishna movement today has a tendency to oppose Western culture. This tendency may change in the future, since if a Krishna devotee is allowed to drive a decorated carriage, why should he not be allowed to drive a truck and sing country western songs? We can look at ISKCON as an interesting mix of relativism and absolutism and believe that we should not entertain great hopes of a quick and

successful cultural adaptation, since Western moral principles are simply considered "mayas" (illusions) by Krishna devotees, and excentricity is permitted, although it seals them off from the surrounding culture. On the other hand, after noting the signs of the easing the absoluteness and the signs of cultural adaptation we can

ask, what would remain of the Krishna religion if its intolerance to our culture ceased, and cite Chesterton who considered tolerance the virtue of those who do not believe in anything.



Church life in the historical churches


There is an essential difference between the traditional3 (Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran) and the smaller churches with fewer that 30.000 members (Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostals, and about three dozen others). The congregations of these latter churches are intimate, their members live in a face to face relationship, and their activities often cover a wide range (help and support, culture, education, and socializing). These congregations' composition according to age, sex, and profession is far more balanced than that of the historical churches, and is very similar to Catholic basic communities. Aside from exceptions in the 5-10 per cent range, the parishes and congregations of the historical churches reveal a picture that differs considerably from those of small churches. Most of these parishes or congregations are not communities yet--or no longer so. It is striking that even the Calvinist Church has become thoroughly hierarchical and, in many places, the faithful are neither partners nor brethren, but a mere flock.

According to a recent survey, there are great differences in the Catholic parishes' supplies, personnel, types of activities, and range of influence. Out of 100 priests, six, aged 60-70, each with 3-4 filiae, look after their parishes without any assistance. A single priest, aided by one lay helper, looks after a parish of 400 as well as one of 5,000; in some parishes, forty attend Sunday mass, in others, seven hundred; the catechism is taught to fifty as well as to two hundred children. There is no end of examples of unequal burdens. The effect is, of course, visible also in religious life.

Only a quarter of a parish boards include members under thirty. A third of them have men only, a fifth have no members under 61. In an overwhelming majority of the cases, the parish priest holds the reins, and the number of conflicts between priest and laymen is limited only because there is no opportunity to express opposing views. There is no charitable organisation in a third of Catholic parishes. A massive majority of these are village parishes where a sense of social responsibility seems to be even rarer than in towns. Charity work is haphazard in most villages.

The number of baptisms is declining in 60 per cent of parishes, rising in only 5 per cent; the conditions of administering the sacraments differ widely. Fifty to ninety per cent of those confirmed (the number in villages, where confirmation is a folk custom rather than a sacrament, exceeds that in towns) lapse soon afterwards; confirmation is often bitterly considered as "The Sacrament of leaving the Church." The number of confessions is steeply declining almost everywhere, and a majority of priests urge their flocks to confess more often, treating them as children, instead of asking them to lead spiritual lives as responsible adults. "Instead of considering their actions, they confess them," complains a priest of an average village parish about a flock having infantile piety. "Characteristically, for the past thirteen years no one has confessed fornication or abortion to me. The most frequently confessed sins are 'I swore' or 'I quarrelled with the wife,' says the priest of a secularised village.

The number of church weddings is on the decline in two thirds of the parishes; yet there are still a few villages where all weddings take place in church. The ties (not often very close) established with the couple during premarital instruction are usually broken immediately after the ceremony. In 1989, the year preceding the major changes in the political system, 10-15 per cent of children attended religious instruction, more in villages, fewer in towns. In most places, their numbers rose by 10-40 per cent after the change. Only 15 per cent of parishes or congregations provide religious instruction for children of kindergarten age, 50 per cent for young people, and 25 per cent for adults.

Cultural and community activities are poor and only improving slowly.

A considerable proportion of religious small communities keeps apart from the parish, in a majority of cases due to the priest's dismissive or uncertain attitude. The parishes' links are uniformly poor with neighbouring parishes, congregations of other denominations, and lay communities alike. Although the change in the political system led to the foundation of several hundred parish clubs, libraries, scout troops, and newspapers, these are still relatively rare. Characteristically, only a third of the parish priests in the survey answered the question, "What do you expect of the Catholic Church leadership?" Most of them want it to be more courageous and decisive. Although four-fifths of the parishes have plans of some kind, a third of those are concerned only with the maintenance of the church and/or the presbytery. Other items at the top of that list are improving the quality of youth work and catechism classes, church schools or kindergartens, improving pastoral work, establishing communities, family care, and boosting cultural activities.

In a considerable proportion of Catholic parishes, pastoral work is limited to the administration of the sacraments. Even in that respect, there are more and less efficient parishes. On a second level there is considerable catechisation; on a third, there is even charity work; on a fourth, all that is topped by cultural and community activities; and on the fifth level, the presbytery serves local social life. Beside secularisation and the previously enforced atheism, the present situation of parishes and congregations is significantly determined, on the other hand, by a kind of clericalism that is jealous of lay organisations and lacks both timeliness and clear-cut ideas, and additionally, by the passivity of Christians adjusting to a ghetto existence and displaying a consumer mentality even in religion. There are, however, happy exceptions both in towns and villages, places where religion flourished even in the years of repression, where fresh ideas made up for an underdeveloped infrastructure, where the faithful carried their parish forward on their shoulders.


Movements and small communities in the traditional churches

In Hungary, the number of small communities made up of members of the historical (first of all of Catholic) churches is between 2,000-3,000. An exact number is difficult to establish for two reasons: 1) these communities surfaced barely a year ago after an underground existence and are still cautions of both the world and a church leadership which does not trust them, 2) it is seldom easy to establish whether the particular group are catechists with a strong community spirit or a genuine small community. Half of the small communities belong to four major and six minor spiritual movements; 95 per cent of them are Catholic small communities. Of the four major movements, two are of Hungarian origin; the other two are the international Focolare movement and the charismatic movement. One of the Hungarian movements, Regnum Marianum, was founded early this century as a community of priests joining forces to educate adolescent boys. Though its main objective remains the education of youth, it now embraces both sexes and all ages, from toddlers to adults. Its main values are Christianity, self-development, the love of nature, and national identity. The other Hungarian movement, "Bokor" (Bush), was founded by the Piarist priest György Bulányi 45 years ago, and emerged from obscurity in the early 1970s. Its aim is a radical experience of the Christ paradigm, its main values are poverty, philanthropy, non-violence, and an aware faith. Owing to its radicalism, this movement was relegated to the sidelines of Hungarian church life. Catholic "Bokor" members (like Jehovah's Witnesses and Nazarenes) refuses to do military service. In their refusal, they clashed not only with the Communist state but also with the church leadership that collaborated with it. The other point at issue was their criticism of the rigid Catholic hierarchy. These four movements cover 100-200 communities each. Another half dozen movements, including the "Bárka" (Ark), "Hit és fény" (Faith and Light), the Neocathecumenic and Taizé groups, account for another 5-10 communities each. A majority of the other half of these small communities are parish communities; a minority of them are independent of movements or parishes.

These small communities are an élite within their denomination. There are, however, still some hurdles in the way of their recognition and integration, a problem for all of them and not only for the "Bokor" movement. The lives and values of small community members are markedly more Christian, their faith deeper than those of regular churchgoers outside these communities, or even of church school pupils. In the birth of these groups the following factors must be considered (unvarying proportions for every movement and community): 1) the growing influence of laymen, 2) a demand for personal involvement and community life, 3) political repression which forced them to go underground, 4) deeper religiousness, 5) the challenge of small churches.

One in every three or four Catholic small communities has one or two Protestant members. Thus, these small communities are also bases of a practical "grassroots" ecumenism in which the Taizé movement's influence has played a major role. In the early 1970s, young members of these small communities organised the first, at the time quasi-illegal, meeting in the spirit of evangelization. (The "spiritual power plant" at Nagymaros, mentioned earlier, is their achievement.)

Their evangelising activities joined forces with some pop groups and the ensuing amalgam with its emphasis on musical communication proved to be very effective in attracting young people. Undoubtedly, the small communities are the élite force of the historical churches today: they intend to provide a warm hearth for those outside, a reliable haven in which people will not be disappointed, where individuals are not cogs in a social machine, but vessels of irreplaceable value, even ordinary people, the insulted and injured, the failures.

There are important questions that can be asked about these small communities: 1) Will they be established where they are not yet present? 2) Will they instigate and challenge other, also useful, competitors (associations, clubs, workshops, scout groups)?, 3) Will they be recognised by the institutionalised church as a spiritual force or be doomed to a fringe existence, to inbreeding and sectarian activities? There is an acute shortage of communities and alternatives--and these small communities are real alternatives making up for that shortage.



Towards a new Christian course or a Gaudiopolis?


"A new era is beckoning to Hungary's Christianity. We have survived forty years of persecution! Bruised and diminished in numbers, we are considering our options. While cleaning away the debris, we are simultaneously taking care of valuable building material and hidden minefields. Many problems must be solved. On the one hand, we feel the increased need for Christianity, and are part of the religious renewal. On the other hand, we are painfully aware of our smallness, our limits, our helplessness. We are glad to say that, since the 1970s, it has been possible to give evidence of the renewal in figures. Yet we are awed by the multiplicity of options, but we have just about no idea about how to use them," the sociologist M. Tomka wrote in early 1990. One of the hidden mines is a national church triumphant, maintaining close ties with those in power. The memory of the Christian course between the two World Wars is still attractive to many Christians. It is present in the thinking of all those bishops, chaplains, and the ordinary faithful whose ideas have not adjusted to the present. Albeit to a smaller extent than among non-religious citizens, an identity crisis can be felt even by Christians of dual citizenship. Against that, "Christian politics" is used as a panacea by many people. They vote for Christian parties, urge the introduction of obligatory or a least optional religious studies in schools, and consider themselves, though a small minority, as the majority. Those Hungarian Christians unsure of their identity also tend to use adjectives (most often 'Christian', of course) instead of ideas, and to speak of the devil (identifying him as the liberals). Though there is clearly a possibility that the ideology of the Horthy era may rise from the dead, several factors work against such a rebirth: 1) the unpleasant memory of that rightist, reactionary, ultra-conservative period, 2) those forty years which, beside the losses, were also responsible for the emergence of a new kind of solidarity, the sense of community of a minority that shared its thinking, and readiness for dialogue, 3) the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, 4) the Jesus paradigm itself--in which, according to St. Paul, there are no more Jews or Greeks, slaves or free citizens, men or woman--can be continued in today's Hungary by saying that there are no longer religious or non-religious people, former communists or formerly persecuted, government supporters, Christian democrats or liberal democrats, Catholics and Protestants. That is, we have them all, we have them as valuable differences, complements of each other. And thus, there is a chance for a Gaudiopolis based upon the spiritual power plants, a secular merger of the two states.

Nevertheless, the road to Gaudiopolis is rocky, with a number of hurdles to be cleared away. Much has to be done. 1) Religious people should posses consciousness, a better psychophysiological condition, and an identity together with the gift of forgiveness. 2) There is also a need for a more up-to-date, dialogue-oriented theology to present an image of man. 3) Rigidly hierarchical, obsolete church institutions must be democratised. 4) Small communities must be supported, promoted, and supplied with things to do and the means withal. 5) Lay helpers must be found to assist the abandoned and exhausted priests. 6) The guarding of tradition must be balanced by modernisation. 7) Hungary should be made a missionary target, though evangelisation must be dialogue-oriented and a service rather than a constraint. 8) Spontaneous and politically illegal or quasi-legal initiatives must be institutionalised with a simultaneous socialisation of institutions that have obtained monopoly status and work in inefficient, anti-democratic ways. 9) Social platforms must be made use of. 10) Co-operation must be established between denominations, especially between Christians and Jews, and between the two rivals for the past four hundred years, the Roman Catholic and the Calvinist churches. 11) Churches must participate in education and socialisation by presenting something valuable and different.

Keeping tradition alive and working for radical reform are equally important. Adapting ourselves to something new is not enough in itself since, as a sociologist put it, "The devil's hoof of self-repetition [reproduction?] peeps out from under the cloak of change." It would be wonderful to believe that Hungarian Christians, doomed to sudden liberty, will find a way that combines sticking to the core [loyalty?] and improvising skills.





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1 The monks numbered 280 to 300 in 1997, and our estimate is that the number of devotees living outside the temples but having close, almost daily contact with the Hare Krishna movement may be 700-750, while there may be 1,500 to 2,000 sympathizers.

2 I have collected a lot of experiences among them, when I conducted empirical research in 1995-97. The result soon will be published in the journals Social Compass and ISKCON Journal.

3 They are called in Hungary "historical churches."