Hungarian Catholicism and Trianon

Sági György

György Sági (ed.): Hungarian Catholicism and Trianon (CST I/5), Budapest 2023. 350 p. 2 annexes (maps)

The present volume of studies is the result of the academic conference organised by the Vilmos Fraknói Roman History Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA-PPKE), which commemorated the peace treaty that ended the First World War on 23 June 2021. Trianon meant the destruction not only of the Hungarian state, but also of the Hungarian ecclesiastical organisation (dioceses and the various monastic provinces). The issue affects relations between Hungary and the Holy See in many ways, but also goes beyond them in several dimensions.

The multifaceted system of relations between state, church and society is revealed in Chapter I. The attempts of King Charles IV to return to Hungary are illustrated by Vatican sources. The reports of the Apostolic Nuncio Lorenzo Schioppa present a new narrative of the last Habsburg monarch's illusions of regaining his throne (Petra Hamerli). From an examination of the Catholic General Assemblies between the two World Wars, we learn that, for example, Kuno Klebelsberg believes that the responsibility for Trianon lies not only with those 'who paved the way for communism', but with all those who did not oppose it 'with sufficient force'. Aladár Krüger scourged unethical liberalism, while Count József Károlyi stressed the powerlessness of Dezső Bánffy's policy of Hungarianisation and underlined the importance of the denominational institutional background of nationalities (András Gianone). The later head of Hungarian Catholicism, József Pehm, appears in the volume as a practical revisionist priest who mitigated the regional consequences of the annexations in Zala, among other things by establishing pastorates (curacies). (Margit Balogh)

Chapter II deals with the beginnings of the dismantling of the St. Stephen's/László's, or Theresian and post-Jozefian church organization. It examines the process that ended in 2008 with Benedict XVI's bull "Slovachiae sacrorum Antistites", erasing the remaining outlines of the former church organisation of the Carpathian Basin. From the analysis of the press reaction in the early 1920s, we learn that the Hungarian public expected the Holy See to treat the Hungarian minority more favourably, and from 1924 onwards, several Budapest newspapers criticised the Vatican's decision to appoint bishops to the Highlands. (Tibor Klestenitz) The establishment of the Apostolic Governorate of Bácska cannot be separated from the individual ambitions of the parish priest Lajos Budanovich (Budanović) of Szabadka, whose diocesan establishment efforts were always in line with the interests of Serbian nationalism. This article, which is rich in research data from the Vatican Archives, traces developments in more detail up to the 1940s. (Tamás Tóth) A similarly important and interesting issue is discussed in the concluding chapter. Drawing on data from contemporary sources, it shows the impact of the establishment of the diocese of Hajdúdorog on Hungarian-Romanian relations in the 20-25 years preceding the Treaty of Trianon. (Tamás Véghseő)

When describing the catastrophic consequences of Trianon for the millennial Hungarian church organization, we must include not only the dioceses, but also the various units of the monastic orders: provinces, congregations, etc. Chapter III focuses on this area by exploring and analysing hitherto unknown sources. In the context of the impact of Trianon on the life of the School Sisters of Kalocsa, for example, we read that early on there were attempts to organise the monasteries of Bácska into independent provinces. A decision on this was taken in Rome in 1925, but it was not finally implemented until 1960. (György Sági)
In the case of the Piarists, the establishment of the 'Slovenská' order was achieved by 1930, with the conclusion of the Czechoslovak modus vivendi. Its members were the small number of Slovak Piarists. (Barnabas Szekér) This chapter is not lacking in the Greek Catholic theme. The renewal of the monastery of Máriapócs and their search for a new path after Trianon. The study is based mainly on the press articles of the period. (Katalin Földvári)

The volume concludes with a historiographical summary of the literature on the topic of "Trianon and the Church", which also forms Chapter IV (Krisztina Tóth). The significance of the present volume of studies lies in the fact that - even if only in an indicative way - it also adds the aspect of church history. The studies are followed by an index of abbreviations, a list of authors and an index of names, and finally the Hungarian and English-language summaries conclude the volume.