Archbishop Péter Erdő: My words were taken out of their context

Original title: Erdő Péter: Kiragadták az összefüggéseiből a szavaimat
Publication: hvg.hu Date: 14:44 06/09/2015

Archbishop Péter Erdő: My words were taken out of their context


Earlier this week [last week – transl.] Hungarian Archbishop Péter Erdő said that the Hungarian Catholic Church would become a human trafficker if its followers accommodated refugee children in their homes. Now he has given an interview to index.hu and talked about how much the Catholic Church had helped the refugees.

Cardinal and Archbishop Péter Erdő gave a long interview to index.hu [Hungarian article] which confronted him with his previous statement he had made after the conference of Hungarian Catholic Bishops. During a press conference on Thursday, he had replied to RTL Klub’s [a commercial Hungarian TV channel – transl.] question, on ’why the Church does not accept refugees’ children lying on the street’, that ’we are not entitled to take this child into our home, if we did so, we would become human traffickers’.

In the new interview, he said that his words were grabbed out of the context. Catholic Bishops have already designated two buildings to accommodate refugees, but due to legal obstacles they are still not available. When he was told that the Benedictins in Pannonhalma had already opened their gates before the refugees fleeing towards the Austrian border, he said the following: ’this is also a credible measure of our Church.’

He underlined that ’the Church is making various efforts in order to help refugees, such as food aid, medical attendance, psychological attendance for the children, we offer a lot of things.’ The Church is indeed present on the streets via the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service, the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Caritas Hungarica. But these organisations, as Péter Erdő said, are not exhibitionists. The Caritas has a cross in its logo and there were food distributions where food was turned down because of the cross.

On Sunday, the Head of the Catholic Church urged every Catholic parish across Europe to host one refugee family. ’The Gospel calls us to be neighbours to the smallest and the most abandoned, to give them concrete hope’ – he said, while speaking to pilgrims in St Peter’s Square in Vatican. Two parishes in Vatican are going to give shelter to refugee families already in the following days.

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