The Economic, Social, and Spiritual Situation of the Central European Countries in the Light of Catholic Social Thought

A high-level international symposium on a crucial topic of our time in Budapest, 8-9 October 2019. Organizing institutions: Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger – Benedetto XVI and the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Faculty of Theology.

The Rantzinger Foundation of Rome organizes conferences from time to time in the central European region, but this occasion will be the first in Hungary. The conference will be organized in collaboration with the Theological Faculty of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University with encouragement and support from the Hungarian Episcopal Conference.

The purpose of the conference

The purpose of our work is to present the social, economic and cultural changes that have taken place in the Central European region over the past 30 years, seeking moral responses in the light of the Catholic Church’s social teaching. Our investigation specifically addresses the problems of the so-called Visegrad countries: Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, including other former Soviet-dominated eastern bloc countries.

The most important topics of the conference: anomalies of privatization, corruption in the region, difficulties and losses deriving from the transition to a market economy, difficulties in self-interpretation in a state of anomie, the virtual iron curtain (cultural and economic) that separates us from western countries and dynamic migration of the youth of the region to the West after joining the EU. To analyse deeper the problem, we invited some experts from Western European Countries, so from France, Germany and Italy as well. So, we would like to give a wider perspective for the region, and we want offer concrete proposals for the future.

We are convinced that, in the light of the traditional social teaching of the Church, we can provide new answers to these emerging problems that can help consolidate the region’s self-understanding and formulate our place and our commitment in Europe.

Organizer:

Ratzinger Foundation

The Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger – Benedetto XVI is a Vatican foundation founded on March 1, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, on the basis of the Canon Law and the Basic Law of the Vatican City.

The current President of the Foundation is Father Federico Lombardi SJ, the former spokesman of the Holy See from 2006 to 2016. The purpose of the Foundation is to study and promote the writings and theology of Joseph Ratzinger, which includes support for various research, conferences, publications and scholarships. Each year, the Foundation awards the so-called Joseph Ratzinger Prize, which recognizes experts of theology and public life who have testified to the Catholic faith in their area. The prize is awarded each year by the Pope in Rome.

The organization of high-quality conferences plays a particularly important role in the Foundation’s activities. Also outstanding at the Foundation’s annual conferences was the gathering in Costa Rica in 2017, titled Laudato ‘si – The Care of the Common House, a Necessary Conversion to Human Ecology, and last year – on the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the meeting in Rome with the title Fundamental Rights and the Conflicts among Rights.

Program

Day 1 (8 Oct)

Location: Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1051 Budapest, Széchenyi tér 9. Reading room)

  • Chair: Rev. Zoltán Kovács, rector of the Diocesan Seminary in Esztergom
  • 9.00 | Registration
  • 9.30 | Music Program: Chamber Music – Family Kirkósa (Fauré: Pavane, Dvorak: Humoreszk, Kodály: Esti dal)

Greeting Speeches

  • Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary
  • Federico Lombardi SJ, President of the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger – Benedetto XVI
  • S.E.R. András Veres, President of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference
  • Rev. Mihály Kránitz, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest
  • 10.30 | Music Program: Chamber Music - Family Kirkósa (Mozart: Adagio, Boldogasszony Asszony Anyánk)
  • Coffee Break

Keynote Talks

  • S.Em.R. Péter Card. Erdő (Primate of Hungary, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest): The Collapse of Communism, the Political Change in Central Europe, and the Role of the Catholic Church
  • S.E.R. Roland Minnerath (Archbishop of Dijon, France): What Makes Europe a Common Home?
  • Hanna Suchocka (Poznan, Adam Mickiewicz University, Former Prime Minister, Poland): John Paul II - Towards a New International Order
  • 13.00 | Music Program and Lunch Break (for all guests in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Krúdy Hall)

Session 1

From the past to the present: the transformation of the economic, political, social and spiritual context in the last 30 years

  • Chair: Balázs Schanda, Member of the Hungarian Constitutional Court, Head of Department of Constitiuonal Law at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest
  • 14.00 | Rev. Maciej Ziȩba O.P. (Professor of the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow (Poland), a Founder of the Tertio Millennio Institute): Crisis of Democracy: About the Political Homelessness of Catholics (Showing That - in Principle - this Applies to All EU Countries, as well as to the US, and in the End with Particular Regard to the Situation in Poland)
  • Prof. András Fejérdy (Researcher at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of History and Associate Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Pázmány Péter Catholic University of Budapest, Hungary): From Iron Curtain to Virtual Iron Curtain: Interfaces and Breaklines in Central Europe after 1989
  • Prof. Dóra Győrffy (Professor of International Studies, Pázmány Péter Catholic University of Budapest, Hungary): Value System and Economic Development in Central Europe 1989-2019
  • 15.30 | Rev. Josip Jelenic S.J. (Professor of Social Sciences in Pontificia Università Gregoriana of Rome, Italy): Croatia: Between Delusion and Hope
  • Prof. Zoltán Balázs (Professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences and International Relations of University Corvinus of Budapest, Hungary): “A Fair and More Brotherly World” - The 1996 Social Circular of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference in the Context of the Hungarian Catholic Social and Political Thinking after the Regime Change
  • 17.00 | Discussion

Day 2 (9 Oct)

Location: Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Faculty of Theology (1053 Budapest, Veres Pálné utca 24. Lecture Hall VIII)

Session 2

The present: the economic, political, social and spiritual condition of Central and Eastern Europe today and relations with Western Europe

  • Chair: Tibor Görföl, Theologian, Theological Institute, Pécs (Hungary)
  • 9.30 | Music Program – Benyus Family: Baroque Fragments
  • Prof. Hans Joas (Professor for the Sociology of Religion at Humboldt Universität of Berlin, Germany): European Values - Analytical Category or Polemical Concept?
  • Rev. Maciej Hulas (Assistant Professor of Sociology at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin): Patria as a Biography. An Argument for Biographical Patriotism
  • 10.45 | Coffee Break
  • 11.15 | Music Program – Benyus Family: Baroque Fragments
  • Prof. Stefano Zamagni (Professor of Political Economy in Università di Bologna, President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Italy): How the Central European Countries Transition can Help Revising the Functioning of the European Union
  • Rev. Mihály Kránitz (Dean of the Faculty of Theology in Pázmány Péter Catholic University): A Christian Vision and Responsibility for Europe
  • 12.15 | Discussion
  • 13.00 | Lunch Break (for all guests in the Faculty)

Section 3

Actual future perspectives on the basis of the social doctrine of the Church

  • Chair: Rev. Ferenc Beran, Associate Professor of the Theological Faculty in Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Moral theology
  • 14.00 | Introductory Report: Laura Baritz O.P. (Assistant Lecturer of the Sapientia College of Theology, Head of KETEG (Christian Social Principles in the Economy): Christian Social Principles in Economy /KETEG Programme/ – answer and suggestion
  • 15.00. | Roundtable and Discussion: Péter Szőke (Budapest, Head of the Comunitá di Sant’ Egidio in Hungary), Rev. Marek Blaza S.J. (Pontifical Faculty of Theology – Bobolanum, Warsaw, Poland; visiting professor of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv), Rev. Ladislav Csontos S.J. (Faculty of Theology, Bratislava, Slovakia), Rev. Pavel Ambros S.J. (Professor of Pastoral and Spiritual Theology at the Sts Cyrill and Methodius Faculty of Theology, Olomouc, Czech Republic)
  • 16.00 | Conclusions: Rev. Géza Kuminetz (Rector of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University)

Speakers

Greeting Speeches

semjen-zsolt

Semjén Zsolt

Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary

federico

Rev. Federico Lombardi SJ

Jesuit priest, president of the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger – Benedetto XVI, former spokesman of the Holy See (2006-2016)

veresa

S.E.R. Mons. András Veres

Bishop of Győr, President of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Kr†nitz Mih†ly

Rev. Mihály Kránitz

Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest

Keynote Talks

Erdč Pāter

S.Em.R. Peter Card. Erdő

Primate of Hungary, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest. Judge of Signatura Apostolica, member of The Congregation for Catholic Education, member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and member of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. President of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Grand Chancellor of the Péter Pázmány Catholic University (2005-2015) and President of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences in Europe (2006-2016). Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2013–). Motto: Initio non erat nisi gratia - In the beginning there was nothing but grace.

rmin

S.E.R. Roland Minnerath

Archbishop of Dijon (France), church historian, archbishop of Dijon (2004-). Chairman of the Committee on Theology of the French Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Pope Francis appointed him to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is a member of the Papal Academy of Social Sciences and a member of the International Religious Liberty Association. Motto: Maior autem caritas - The greatest is love.

Hanna Suchocka

Hanna Suchocka

Former Polish Prime Minister, Poznań, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland. Polish Catholic politician and lawyer. Head of the Constitutional Law Department at Adam Mickiewicz University. First Vice-President and then Honorary President of the Venice Commission. Between 1992 and 1993 she was Poland's first female Prime Minister under Lech Wałęsa. Ambassador of the Vatican to Poland (2001-2013). She is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Lecturers

Fejārdy Andr†s

András Fejérdy

Senior research fellow at the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Church History Theme Group. Associate professor at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Faculty of Humanities. He specializes in the history of the Hungarian Church in the second half of the 20th century.

gydora

Dóra Győrffy

Professor of International Studies at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Faculty of Humanities. Between 2011 and 2016 she was the secretary of the Economic Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, since 2017 she is vice chairman. Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Among other subjects she teaches Research Methodology, European Union Studies, International Finance and Comparative Economics.

josip Jelenic

Rev. Josip Jelenic S.J. (Croatia)

Jesuit priest, professor of Sociology at Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Roma (Italy). He was born in Croatia. He teaches social teaching, Sociology and Social Ethics at Gregoriana University, where he was the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences between 2004 and 2010.

Bal†zs Zolt†n

Zoltán Balázs

Senior research fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, associate professor at Corvinus University. He is doing research at the Department of Democracy and Political Theory at the Academy's Institute of Political Science. His research interests include Political Theory, Political Philosophy, Moral Philosophy - power, values, literature and politics.

Hans Joas

Hans Joas

Professor of Religious Sociology, Humboldt Universität, Berlin (Germany), Ernts Troeltsch Professor in the Department of Religious Sociology. Director of the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt (2002-2011). Full member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. His research interests include Social Philosophy, especially American Pragmatism and Historicism, Religious Sociology, war and violence, and the change of values in modern societies.

Kr†nitz Mih†ly

Rev. Mihály Kránitz

Catholic priest, Dean of the Faculty of Theology in the Pázmány Péter Catholic University. Head of the Department of Fundamental Theology in the Faculty of Theology. Member of Esztergom Cathedral Chapter. Research area: Fundamental Theology, the Theology of Church, Second Vatican Council and Ecumenism. Former Vice-Rector of the Catholic University, President of the Alumni Association of the Catholic University (2001-05), Member of the Theological Committee of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of the European Union (2002-05), Chairman of the Ut Unum Sint Ecumenical Institute (2006-), chief editor of the theological review Teológia.

Stephano Zamagni

Stefano Zamagni

Italian economist, professor of Political Economy at the University of Bologna. From 2019 President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican. Frequent guest in Hungary. He co-authored the book Civil Economy with Lugino Bruni. Research areas: welfare economics and consumer behaviour theory, social decision theory, economics, ethics, history of economics and civil economics.

Maciej Zieba

Rev. Maciej Ziȩba O.P.

Dominican priest, II. John Paul Pontifical University, Krakow (Poland). Philosopher and theologian, former Polish Dominican provincial. He is one of the most authentic interpreters of Pope John Paul II’s teaching. Co-founder of the Tertio Millennio Institute for Social Affairs alongside Michael Novak, Rocco Buttiglione, Richard Neuhaus and George Weigel. One of the key objectives of the Institute is to examine the prevalence of the Church's social teaching in new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe.

Maciej Hulas

Rev. Maciej Hulas

Catholic priest, associate professor of the Faculty of Sociology, II. John Paul Catholic University, Lublin (Poland). His research interests include the Church's Social Teaching, patriotism and cosmopolitanism. In 2015, he published a major volume, Patria as Biography, an argument for biographical patriotism.

bl

Sarolta Laura Baritz O.P.

Dominican monastic nurse, economist and pastoral associate. Associate professor at Sapientia Theological Institute, leader of the postgraduate training in cooperation with Corvinus University of Budapest. Specialist in Christian Social Principles in Economics (KETEG, 2010-). Member of the National Council for Sustainable Development - Professional Committee, Hungarian Parliament (2009-2010), presenter of the program Money and Life in Radio Maria (2007-2012), member of the Naphimnusz Working Group on Protection of the Creation (since 2008).

Members of the Roundtable

Szčke Pāter

Péter Szőke

Budapest, Head of the Comunitá di Sant’ Egidio in Hungary

Marek Blaza

Rev. Marek Blaza S.J.

Pontifical Faculty of Theology – Bobolanum, Warsaw (Poland), visiting professor of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv

Ladislav Csontos

Rev. Ladislav Csontos S.J.

Faculty of Theology, Bratislava (Slovakia)

Pavel Ambros

Rev. Pavel Ambros S.J.

Professor of Pastoral and Spiritual Theology at the Sts Cyrill and Methodius Faculty of Theology, Olomouc (Czech Republic)

Organizing Committees

Members of the Scientific Committee of the Conference:

  • Péter Card. Erdő, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, primate of Hungary
  • Géza Kuminetz, rector of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University
  • Federico Lombardi SJ, president of the Ratzinger Foundation
  • Stefano Zamagni, professor of the University of Bologna
  • Attila Puskás, professor of the Theological Faculty of the Pázmány University
  • Mihály Kránitz, professor of the Theological Faculty of the Pázmány University

Members of the Organizing Committee of the Conference:

  • Mariusz Kuczynski, scientific program manager of the Ratzinger Foundation, head of the Ratzinger Study Center (Bydgoszcz, Poland)
  • Pierluca Azzaro, executive secretary of the Ratzinger Foundation, head of cultural and institutional relations
  • László Gájer, professor of the Theological Faculty of the Pázmány University
  • János Fejes, operative colleague, secretary

Book your tickets

Tickets (including lunch and coffee breaks) are free of charge. The language of the conference is English and Hungarian (we provide simultaneous interpretation).

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