Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary links the persecution of Christians in other parts of the globe to the increasing hostility towards mainstream Christianity in Europe. A “mysterious force seals the lips,” he asserts, not only of politicians in the West to this persecution, but also of most of those in the media. Is there, in fact, as he also believes, an “organized and wide-ranging attack on European culture and civilization”?
Just a day after the second World Conference on Persecuted Christians ended this November in Budapest, Hungary, a “reformed” jihadi terrorist stabbed two innocent people to death in London, before being shot by police. The inability of the liberal secularists, who are at the center of most Western governmental policies and who control most of the information the public receives via the media and academia, to comprehend the motivation for such an attack is the reason why they will only increase.
The London Islamist attack, one of many over the last decade in Europe, forced many to ask why certain European countries have been targeted regularly and why other countries have not been targeted at all. Hungary, the host nation for the conference and still the only nation in the world to have a specific governmental ministry devoted to the assistance of persecuted Christians everywhere, is regularly attacked by the European elites. Yet, strangely, it has not suffered a single Islamist attack. The unashamedly Christian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, in a speech which should be seen as a clarion call for European renewal, stated that the “key” to Hungary’s survival over the last eleven hundred years was the adoption of Christianity—meaning, of course, Catholicism—by the great Hungarian king St. Stephen. This was a “spiritual rebirth and a true conversion.”
Mr. Orbán linked the persecution of Christians in other parts of the globe to the increasing hostility towards mainstream Christianity in Europe. A “mysterious force seals the lips,” not only of politicians in the West to this persecution, but also of most of those in the media. Is this just rabble-rousing or conspiracy lunacy, or is there, in fact, as he went on to say, an “organized and wide-ranging attack on European culture and civilization”?
One answer or significant piece of evidence to affirm his contention goes back to the deliberate omission from the European Constitution of the foundational place of Christianity in the formation of all that is meant by the term “Europe.” At the time, St. John Paul, and then his successors, pointed out the grave danger this “forgetfulness” would bring to the future of Europe. Both Popes Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have spoken of the “spiritual vacuum” at the heart of secular Europe; a vacuum will eventually be filled and, as the demographics of Europe shift via massive immigration, what will fill the vacuum will be Islam.
The curious marriage between radical Islam and the secular liberalism of the elites in Europe is, at least on the surface, difficult to comprehend, but if Mr. Orbán is correct and it is essentially an attack on European culture and civilization, the ugly union becomes more obvious. On a spiritual level, secularism and radical Islam hate the cross and the victory it signifies. European civilization and culture is—or was—inescapably a Christian culture, and the hatred for that culture and history is almost a hallmark of the left. Academia and the media place all the ills of the world at the door of Western colonialism, oppression, and the evangelization of the Church. The recent Amazon Synod at the Vatican was a perfect example of how that mindset has entered the highest levels of the Church. The naïve glorification of “native cultures,” resplendent in a prelapsarian world in union with nature, then destroyed by the proclamation of the Gospel, was symbolized perfectly by the presence of the pagan fertility statue of Pachamama in the Vatican itself.
Europe, said Mr. Orbán, is “in deep trouble.” The cause he identifies is its deliberate and organized desire to forget or eradicate its Christian identity. The liberals are using what the Hungarian Prime Minister called the “muzzle of political correctness” to accomplish their death wish, which, coupled with the advancement of radical Islam, will eventually produce, if this self-loathing continues, a Europe that will be cut off from its roots. Any horticulturalist knows that a tree will die when it is rootless.
Hungary has no intention of allowing that to happen. This is obviously the reason why the policies of the Orbán government to promote the family, Christianity, and authentic Hungarian culture are so relentlessly condemned by the empty vessels who direct the European Union, which is the most hostile agency in Europe towards orthodox Christianity.
Hungary’s Christian revival is a small sign of hope in an otherwise bleak European landscape. Christians, said Mr. Orbán, have the “right to defend our culture and the way of life that has grown from it.” It is precisely this language which so antagonizes both the liberal intelligentsia and the forces who wish to radically change Europe itself. Hearing about the persecution of Christians in other cultures, the “greatest mistake Europeans can ever make,” Mr. Orbán warned, is “to say this could never happen to them—it is much closer to us than many people think.”
Both the Prime Minister and his energetic and dynamic Families Minster, Katalin Novak, spoke beautifully about the gift the persecuted Christians give to the lethargic and somewhat weak Christians of the West. Mrs. Novak described the lack of courage of so much of Western Christianity, and Mr. Orbán declared that the persecuted Christians give the West what it needs most: “Christian faith, love, and perseverance.”
Budapest, described by one participant at the conference as a “citadel of Christian freedom,” is leading the way to save European civilization because—as Hilaire Belloc so prophetically said—either “Europe will return to the Faith or she will perish.”
Republished with gracious permission from Crisis Magazine (December 2019).
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The featured image is a photograph of Viktor Orbán, is licensed under CC BY 2.0 and is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. The photo was first published by the EU2017EE Estonian Presidency Flickr account and has been slightly modified for color.