SLOVAK – HUNGARIAN RELATIONS, CATHOLICISM AND CHRISTIAN DEMOCRACY

  • Michaela Moravčíková Institute for State-Church Relations, Slovakia

Abstract

Dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, disagreement of Hungary with the post-war reorganisation of this region based on the Treaty of Trianon and the issue of the rights of the Hungarian ethnic minority in neighbouring countries are obstacles, which place a burden on Slovak-Hungarian relations. It appears difficult to overcome these obstacles although both nations are close culturally and mentally, they share more than 1,000 years of common history in several state entities and traditional Christian and Catholic identity. The conflict is ongoing at the political level. It manifests itself especially in the domestic political level because Slovakia has a well-organised and large Hungarian minority, and also in relations between both neighbouring countries at the international level. Both particular Catholic churches place an emphasis on the protection of national interest. A nation connects a sum of individuals more than a religion. In difficult situations a nation becomes a secular religion, and this is also related to the gradual secularisation of a society, and transferring transcendent characteristics and functions to the nation or national state. Christian Democrats prefer to cooperate with political parties that focus on the national interest rather than with Christian politicians of Hungarian/Slovak nationality. One of the essential premises of Christian democracy - that religious identity dominates national identity and has more influence on behaviour - does not actually appear to be true in the case of Slovak-Hungarian relations as seen in practical politics (also carried out by Christian Democrats). However, religion as one of the determining identifying factors may significantly affect further development of Slovak-Hungarian relations leading to a historical reconciliation. It may help to overcome historical stereotypes about a generalised perception of one nation by the other. Rare bilateral activities of Catholic churches and numerous examples of Slovak-Hungarian cooperation at different levels of social life show that petrificated conflict at the political level may be overcome easier in the area of human relations and professional cooperation, and that a real SlovakHungarian reconciliation may be achieved at a lower level.

Keywords: Slovak-Hungarian relations, ethnic minorities, religion, values, identity, the Treaty of Trianon, the post-war map of Central Europe, collective memory, Catholicism, Christian democracy, international politics, regions, autonomy

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Published
2017-01-15
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