On Sunday, Lutheran pastor Balázs Mesterházy delivered a sermon in which he essentially said that the “Angel who represents God” frowns upon those who
- urge others to condemn those of other faiths,
- urge others to hate people with dark skin,
- squabble amongst each other instead of acting for the greater good, and
- allow “Emőke and Gábor to vote in their place.” (This last point ostensibly refers to a Comedy Central Hungary ad campaign – here and here – encouraging citizens to vote because if they don’t, crazy people will vote for them.)
Surprisingly, Mesterházy’s sermon was broadcast on state-owned Kossuth Rádió.
This Easter sermon upset Hungary’s propagandist-in-chief Zsolt Bayer so much he chose to lead with this issue on his Echo TV show on Monday.
Bayer and his fellow propagandist co-hosts – Demokrata editor-in-chief András Bencsik, online blog PestiSrácok editor-in-chief Gergely Huth and publicist István Lovas – spent twenty minutes raging over the sermon before Bayer finally said: “Liberalism, which was philosophy and ideology underpinning the creation of the nation-states, today has become the Bible of cretins, idiots, and the ruination of European civilization, and I do not wish to be part of this.”
Bayer then made the announcement of the century:
HE IS LEAVING THE LUTHERAN CHURCH AND WILL BECOME A CATHOLIC.
Bencsik welcomed Bayer’s announcement that he would be joining the Catholic Church.
“It makes me happy that there will be more of us, and the Christian world benefits from having you, but I think we should give the Lutheran Church another opportunity,” Bencsik said, before adding that maybe a bunch of Lutherans will see what Bayer said and arrive at the conclusion that Lutheranism needs to return to what it was under Luther.
Bencsik then said he would pray that Bayer finds “spiritual peace” in a way that does not require him “to make such a great sacrifice.”
But the church bashing didn’t end there. The propagandists went on to engage in a lively discussion about how Pope Francis isn’t a real pope, that the real pope is still Benedict because popes can’t just resign.
Then, demonstrating his exceptional training as a historian of the Catholic Church, Bencsik said: “We find ourselves in a strange situation where we have two popes, this has never happened before. But I must say that as long as he is alive, I will consider Benedict as the pope.”
In total, 28 minutes of airtime was dedicated to this remarkable display of theological and historical analysis.
The Lutheran Church responds
The Lutheran Church then issued a statement signed by three bishops – Tamás Fabiny, Péter Gáncs and János Szemerei – which said the following:
“We deeply regret that many did not hear the celebration of the resurrection in Balázs Mesterházy’s theologically sound and true-to-the-gospel Easter sermon, instead – obviously because of the upcoming elections – they arbitrarily perceived it as a political message. We believe that our clergy – true to their vows, the sharing of the gospel, and in caring for those in their flock – continue to see peacemaking as their job. Our church asks of its members, Hungarian society, and especially public figures and representatives of the media, to act soberly, take speaking the truth seriously, and to respect the human dignity of others.”