“Thanks to our family policy efforts there has been a huge drop in the number of abortions in Hungary during the past six years: prior to 2010 the average number of abortions exceeded 40 thousand for many years, but has now fallen to 30 thousand-a-year”, the Ministry of Human Capacities’ Minister of State for Churches, Minorities and Civil Affairs said on Tuesday in Székesfehérvár.

Miklós Soltész added: “There is still work to be done, but this reduction is nevertheless a major achievement”.

At the press conference held jointly with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Székesfehérvár, it was announced that Bishop Antal Spányi had set up a Diocese help group to support people who find themselves in a vulnerable situation for whatever reason.

Mr. Soltész told reporters that in recent years the Ministry had supported all religious denominations and striven to aid their community-building efforts. One such example was the replacement of official vehicles, as a result of which the Diocese had purchased an electric car. According to the Minister of State this is an excellent example for other church communities of the fact that in addition to protecting life, churches can also be at the forefront of protecting creation.

The Minister of State mentioned that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Székesfehérvár had received 8.32 billion forints (EUR 26.5M) from the funding distributed at the end of last year, which in the upcoming years will pay for the renovation of the Bishop’s Palace and church, the places of pilgrimage at Bodajk, Ercs and Alsószentiván, the church schools in Érd and Székesfehérvár, and the churches in Vál and Lovasberény.

Bishop Spányi highlighted the fact that the Catholic Church does much to protect both conceived life and the environment, adding that the protection of creation can only be complete with the protection of life, and this was why the Church had launched its programme to help the disadvantaged.
The Bishop announced that a new initiative would be launched at the place of pilgrimage in Vértessomló, which is a place of pilgrimage for parents who are praying for the birth of a child. Beginning in early July, the parents involved will be able to place so-called gratitude hearts engraved with the names of their newly born children to express their gratitude for each new life. The hearts will be made by artist Fruzsina Zalavári.

With relation to the Diocese’s life protection programme, Pro-Vicar Ferenc Hajdú told reporters: the Lea Home, which opened as a temporary home for families in 2005 and has been operated by the Diocese since 2008, has housed over 700 expectant women, has enabled over 1000 children to stay with their mothers, and assisted the birth of hundreds of children. The Diocese’s St. Christopher’s Hospital provides for the daytime care of 31 disabled people and the 24-hour care of a further eleven people.

Regarding the Diocese’s help group, he said the Church’s goal was to support everyone who finds themselves in a vulnerable position for whatever reason, adding that the Church is in regular contact with some 25 thousand children through its schools and religious education courses, and wished to use this fact to help those in need find safety and become part of a healing community.

In the spirit of environmental protection, the Diocese has renovated the gardens of the Bishop’s Palace. Art historian András Smohay told reporters that every effort had been made to restore the 200 year old garden to its former glory, adding that chamber concerts would be held during the summer in cooperation with the Herman László School of Music, thus making the garden even more accessible to the people of Székesfehérvár.