We Shall Not Give Up On Each Other

In an interview with Hungarian public television Sunday evening, Bishop Zoltán Balog encouraged people to turn towards one another on the brink of All Souls’ and All Saints' Day. The ministerial president of the Synod RCH also spoke about the assaults on Christianity, the role of the church in society, its place in the world and the importance of renewal.

Bishop Balog described the Reformation as the discovery of an old doctrine in a live interview with public television on Sunday evening at the occasion of Reformation Day. He said that all believers can have a direct relationship with God without the Church being ‘squeezed in’ between them, and that this relationship renews and strengthens people's lives.

In the conversation, he identified issues around human relationships as the biggest deficit of our time: how we think and care for each other, how we empower each other, how our relationships could serve other than just utilitarian aims. "Just as God did not give up on us, we shall not abandon each other," he said. He added that we must be there for those in need, for the sick, for those struggling with death, and for young people searching a way forward. The common quest for answers to basic questions of life and spiritual empowerment are more important, yet less visible, tasks of the Church. The fundamental questions of humankind are the same, even if, from time to time, they are formulated differently. It is the task of the Church to make these eternal questions and eternal answers comprehensible also for young people of our time.

The Bishop considered as one of the greatest plague of the communist era that the state relegated church life within the walls of church building. Since the political changes however, churches have played a tremendous role in many areas that are not exclusively benefitting their own members. He referred to education, healing, care for the elderly and Roma inclusion as examples.

Concerning the role of churches in the world, he said that economic growth may be possible without Christianity, but happy human communities will certainly not be possible without it. Well-being includes more than money, he said, there is a spiritual dimension to it, and if this gets lost, we won’t be able to grasp why we are in the world. But if we understand that we have to prosper the Earth in a way that is serving the interests of our children and grandchildren, then we will flourish ourselves, and that will be the true future of Europe.

About the assaults on Christianity, he said: “We must distinguish between the deceivers and those deceived. We have to fight against the scammers for the sake of those who have been misguided,” the Bishop said. “They seek to fill the ‘void’ in the lives of the people with mistruths about the perception of the notion of man and woman, or even with the suggestion that a Christian must accept everyone.” He identified the task of the Church not to allow these manipulations to penetrate the "empty space”.

As we approach All Saints' Day and All Souls’ Day, the bishop also spoke about how we handle grief. He urged to reflect, standing over the graves of our loved ones, on what we are grateful for in the lives of those who have died, and reminded that the gospel of the Resurrection teaches us that what is unfinished in this world is completed and receives its ultimate meaning in God's world. He considered it important to listen to each other, both in families and in congregations, so that we can understand each other's real questions and give answers to them. The Church, he said, "has ears to hear, eyes to see where there is trouble and difficulties, but also a mouth to speak out for the suffering and grieving person, if necessary, to turn to God and so that the process of comforting can begin".