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Monday, October 23, 2006


VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from Benedict XVI to Laszlo Solyom, president of the Republic of Hungary, for the 50th anniversary of the revolution against the then communist regime. The uprising began with a popular demonstration in Budapest on October 23, 1956, and was crushed by Soviet tanks on November 4. Hungary remained part of the Soviet Bloc until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

  "On 23 October 1956," the Pope writes in his Message which has been published in Hungarian, Italian and English, "the courageous people of Budapest struggled to express their desire for freedom, in the face of a regime that was pursuing ends contrary to the values of the Hungarian nation. 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. At that time the grief-stricken appeals of ... Pope Pius XII resounded strongly; with four impassioned public interventions, he pleaded insistently that the international community recognize Hungary's right to self-determination."

  "I gladly support the various initiatives planned to commemorate this significant event, so vital for the history of the Hungarian people and for Europe. It is for this reason that I have asked the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, until recently my secretary of State, to be present at the celebrations in my name."

  "I am pleased to observe," the Pope tells the Hungarian president, "that 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. According to the Christian vision that inspired the various peoples who were to form the Hungarian nation, the human person, with his legitimate moral, ethical and social aspirations, takes precedence over the State. The legal structure and the secular nature of the State have always been conceived with respect for natural law expressed in authentic national values which, for believers, are enriched by Revelation."

  Benedict XVI expresses the hope that Hungary "may build a future free from all forms of oppression and ideological conditioning," and that the commemoration "will provide an occasion for timely reflection on the moral, ethical and spiritual ideals and values that have shaped Europe." May Hungary, he concludes, "continue to promote a civilization based on respect for the human person and his supreme destiny."

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