BUDAPEST, Nov. 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Europe must return to Christianity before economic regeneration is possible, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary said at a conference last week. According to Orban, the growing economic crisis in Europe is one that originates in the spiritual, not the economic order. To solve this crisis, he proposed a renewal of culture and politics based on Christian values to save Europe from economic, moral and social collapse.
“An economic improvement is only possible for Europe and Hungary if souls and hearts rise, too,” Orban said at the XIV Congress of Catholics and Public Life on “Hope and the Christian response to the crisis.”
Behind every successful economy, Orban said, there is “some kind of spiritual driving force.”
“A Europe governed according to Christian values would regenerate.”
“The European crisis,” he said, “has not come by chance but by the carelessness and neglect of their responsibilities by leaders who have questioned precisely those Christian roots. That is the driving force that allowed European cohesion, family, work and credit. These values were the old continental economic power, thanks mainly to the development which in those days was done in accordance with [those] principles.”
Info Catolica, a Spanish language news site, quoted Orban saying that even the credit crisis has been driven by the abandonment of Christian principles. The Christian Church before the Reformation, he said, always opposed usury (the charging of exorbitant rates of interest on loans) – a practice that has led to massive, insoluble debt both at the national and individual, personal levels of families.
In a Christian Europe the excesses that have created the economic crisis would not have been possible, he said. “A Christian Europe would have noticed that every euro is worked for. A Christian Europe would not have allowed entire countries sink into slavery to credit.”
Orban, himself a Protestant, said it was the Protestant Reformation that first ushered in the age of usury and unfettered greed in which credit has been stripped of its moral dimension. Referring to the harsh “austerity measures” imposed by the EU on Greece and Italy, that have resulted in widespread unemployment and economic hardship, he said that political leaders have abandoned the “human aspects” of economics in efforts to contain the massive national debts accumulated by socialist governments over the last century.
He cited the new Hungarian constitution as a way forward for all of Europe, saying it is based on dignity, freedom, family, nation, fidelity, and love, with the express obligation to help the poor.
Last week, the Prime Minister made similar comments during a ceremony in Parliament in which he awarded the Hungarian Order of Merit, the Grand Cross, to the cardinal archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schonborn.
At the ceremony, Orban said that Europe that forgets its Christian roots is like a man who built his house on sand. He said that many responsible persons in Europe are committed to rebuilding European society from the “rock solid foundation” of its Christian heritage.
Hungary and Orban’s leadership continues to be a thorn in the side of the statist, liberal consensus at the European Union. The Hungarian constitution has been under attack since its passage in May 2011. It explicitly defends the rights of the unborn and the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, and asserts that Christianity is the basis of the Hungarian national identity.
The pro-life clauses of the new constitution have particularly been attacked by international abortion lobbyists the Center for Reproductive Rights. Johanna Westeson, the European regional director for the Center for Reproductive Rights, commenting on the Hungarian situation, said, “There is a very strong pronatalist (anti-choice) current in Central and Eastern Europe and that goes along with nationalist tendencies in many of these countries.”
“Across Eastern and Central Europe, as unemployment surges and the European Union dithers, nationalist conservative and far right parties are on the march. Emboldened right-wing leaders are resurrecting debates around abortion and other reproductive services, even in countries like Hungary, one of the first European countries to explicitly legalize abortion.”