World remembers Hungarian uprising

In a message marking the 50th anniversary of the 1956 uprising against Soviet domination by the "courageous people" of Hungary, Pope Benedict has joined other world leaders in saluting the memory of the 200 people executed and the 2600 people who died fighting the Red Army.

The anniversary of an uprising was also a time for Europe to reflect on its spiritual values, the Pope added, according to a report in The Australian.

Benedict recalled how the Pope at that time, Pius XII, made "grief stricken appeals" for Hungary's right to self-determination.

"Memories are still vivid of the tragic events that, in the space of a few days left thousands of people dead or wounded and caused deep distress throughout the world," Benedict said in a message to Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom.

"Despite all the oppression they have endured down the centuries, most recently from Soviet communism, your people have always maintained the correct evaluation of the relationship between the State and citizens, beyond all ideology," Benedict said.

"The heartfelt wish that I now renew is that Hungary may build a future free from all forms of oppression and ideological conditioning."

Benedict said the commemoration of the Hungarian uprising should spur a "reflection on the moral, ethical and spiritual ideals and values that have shaped Europe".

While the "iron curtain" that divided Europe during the Cold War has lifted, the Vatican has voiced concerns that a westernised society may lose touch with its Christian roots.

Benedict has sent Cardinal Angelo Sodano, until recently his Secretary of State, to attend the ceremonies marking the anniversary of the uprising which took place when Benedict was a 29-year-old academic living in Germany.

Commenting on the anniversary during a visit to Budapest, Irish President Mary McAleese yesterday described the Hungarian revolution of 1956 as "one of the biggest episodes of my childhood".

"I remember the impact that it had on my home, my parish, my street. We were, to put it mildly, upset by it.

"On the old black-and-white television, we watched and listened nightly. Like all Catholic families at that time, we said the rosary and we thought Cardinal Mindszentzy was a next-door neighbour."

President McAleese said she felt very privileged and proud to be able to represent the country at the commemorations, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

May Hungary build a future free from oppression (Vatican Information Service, 23/10/06)
Pope salutes Hungary 50 years (The Australian, 24/10/06)
Pope Benedict XVI offers support to anniversary of Hungary uprising (Raw Story, 23/10/06)
Hungarian revolution made 'big impact' on McAleese childhood (Belfast Telegraph, 23/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
1956 Hungary uprising (Wikipedia)
Vatican Radio program on 1956 uprising

Poland remembers Poznan 56 (CathNews, 26/6/06)

24 Oct 2006