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Simonyi Katalin, Simonyi Cecilia:

National Identity and Christian Peacemaking

0. Introduction

To eliminate nationality problems many expect and hope for the help of the Christian Churches. This is quite understandable since the Founder gathered his thirteen-membered community what he called "My Church" to carry out universal love which is intended to embrace also different nations together.

As the motto of our lecture we use a short story of a Hungarian novellist, Tomorkeny, from 1911 titled "Race and Denomimation". Tomorkeny as the director of a museum leads an excavation close to a Hungarian-Serbian village. Meanwhile he is talking with the workers, among them the 82 year old Uncle Vaszo.

Uncle Vaszo: You seem to speak Serbian and still don't speak Serbian. Which is the language you speak?

As it turned out Tomorkeny had learned Bosnian - as a soldier in Bosnia.

Tomorkeny: We were down there for your sake. In order to set the Uniates free from the Turkish oppression. And that's all the thanks for it that so many Serbians are enemies to the Hungarians.

Uncle Vaszo: That's not the case! There are no enemies right here! Here everybody lives in peace. Serbians and Hungarians live next to each other as sheep in the village ("He ment to say as lambs..." - came from another pit.), as small white tame sheep. We have peace now.

Tomorkeny: That's nice ... but in 1948 you could not act as a small white sheep. Because at that time the statue of the Holy Trinity on the market was surrounded by the heads of dead Hungarians.

Uncle Vaszo: That was not us! We lived as small sheep. The priests did that... The Serbian priest went up to the church and preached that Hungarians were coming and going to kill every Serbian. Then the Hungarian priest went up to the church and said that Serbians were approaching and going to kill every Hungarian. And they had been preaching until we had a fight.

The founder of our movement, Gyorgy Bulanyi is a Piarist monk. As everyone in his generation, he was deeply influenced by the ideal of getting our territories back again. After the first world war 70 % of Hungary had been taken away from us and given to the neighbour countries. People between the two world wars experienced it as something very painful. Pater Bulanyi became a priest because he believed in violence, in a possible war for our lost territories.

Then came the second world war. We took part in it on Hitler's side. Actually we had no choice. With him we also lost the war. And we lost, in fact, some more territories. As the Soviet army creeped in and settled down "temporarily", for the next 40 years, some monks also appeared. They came to teach the Catholic church in Hungary, how to survive underground. One of these monks, a Croatian man, met Pater Bulanyi in Debrecen. They started to work together, forming groups with no more than twelwe members for prayer and Bible study, for all the functions of the Church - but in small scale, and in secret. After one month this Croatian priest left for the Soviet Union, to continue his mission. Pater Bulanyi stayed in Debrecen and kept working with the already existing groups.

Meanwhile he converted. He compared Marxism with Christianity. He found many common values: sharing, taking care of the poor and excluded, possessing things together, equality. Then he discovered in the Gospel Jesus' unique teaching about love towards our enemies and he became aware of all its consequences: the impossibility of cooperating with any legal power. He examined what Jesus had taught about nationality and nonviolence. At first we would like to share some thoughts from his study.

1. The national consciousness of Jesus

The basic rule of our human life everywhere in different cultures: "Do not do to others what you would not wish for yourself". The history of mankind, however, shows conflicts, one after the other, where this Golden Rule has been denied. We do not need to talk about nations. Nationality is only one of the reasons why a group with power tries to gain advantages at weaker groups` cost.

If we try to find the reasons why human beings, that form these competing groups, act against the Golden Rule, we need to examine our own nature. God wanted to create a being similar to Himself in us, a being that has the freedom to choose love and service. Freedom of choice means we have, apart from the loving one, also another nature, which determines us to take, to acquire. And any human being, given these natures, is free to follow or set himself against the Golden Rule, individually or as part of a group. The Kingdom of God preached by Jesus is the product of those who use the freedom above at God's purpose according to the Golden Rule. It's trivial that the solution of nationality problems depends on these people. And in order to carry out God's vision Jesus became a man and founded a thirteen-membered community, his own church.

Did Jesus have any ideas beside the above about the nationality problem? It would have been strange if he hadn't have any. The society he lived in was in the misery of nationality conflicts. The way of tax collection yielded poverty. Their national culture, their religion was in danger due to the hellenization and incredulty of the rich collaborating with the Roman Empire. Each honest Jew - zealous - hid his sword digged in the ground of his garden that when the hour of freedom arrives he could take a revenge on the conquerors

Jesus belonged neither to the collaborators nor to the zealous people. Whom did he belong to? To the people with strong national consciousness. Jesus, the Man was a true born Israelite; he, the Son of God chose his own nationality. His Jewish consciousness was based on birth and choice. The basis of his goals to win the whole world was spread in Jewish national surroundings. He did not go to other nations: "I have been sent only to those lost sheep, the people of Israel." ( Matthew 15.24 ) he said to the non-Jewish (Canaanite) woman. He gathered his disciples from the Jews only. His Twelve were chosen from Jewish people, too. The primary heirs of his Kingdom of God belong to Israel; they constitute the "sons of the Kingdom" (Matthew 8.12). They are the ones to whom he explains the notion of love about embracing all the people in the Sermon on the Mount. First they - the Jews - have to get over the notion of love narrowed down to a group with the same interests. This is a love people of other nations and those collaborating with them (namely pagans and tax collectors) are capable of, too (Matthew 6.46-47).

This kind of national consciousness did not make Jesus blind towards both the sins of his own nation and the virtues of other nations. Only those who accept and practice the notion of love mentioned above can be qualified as beloved to God. Only those who are perfect like the Heavenly Father, who doesn't exclude even sinners from his love (Luke 6.32-36; Matthew 5.48). He delimited himself from any kind of love which is restricted to some people only and therefore excludes others. This way even sinners are able to love: "Even sinners lend to sinners." (Luke 6.34).

For Jesus being a Jew is not a privilege but rather a responsibility; a mission to other nations. That kind of love which can broaden only to the members of the nation is just a collective egoism to Jesus. The words of John the Baptist cannot be put off by nationality phrases ("Our father is - Abraham!") because God is able to make descendants for Abraham even from stones (Matthew 3.9). Similarly Jesus could not be moved by national consciousness: "If you really were Abraham's children, you would do the same things that he did." (John 8.39). The God of Jesus cannot be possessed by a single group of all mankind. Not even the one Jesus chose and was born into. Only joining with the thoughts and attitude of God can give any status.

It is our personal performance that counts, and not the history of our nation. Jesus appreciates the non-Jewish officer from Capernaum more than the members of his own nation (Matthew 8.10). He talks about his Kingdom of God filled with non-Jews, causing a great astonishment in Israel: "I assure you that many will come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But those who should be in the Kingdom will be thrown out into the darkness, where they will cry and grind their teeth." (Matthew 8.11-12)

The praised officer from Capernaum belongs to the alien nation which occupies the land of the Jews. Similar praises are given to the nations around Israel, which show greater sensitivity towards the words of the Lord than the Jews (Matthew 11,21-22; 12,41-42). Jesus goes further: even the inhabitants of Sodoma will have a better fate than those of Israel (Matthew 11.24).

Jesus doesn't have any illusions about the future; national war and mass murder are the same things for him: "Countries will fight each other, kingdoms will attack one another." (Matthew 24.7).

He encourages his disciples to escape from the City - the place of mass murders: "Pray to God that you will not have to run away during the winter or on Sabbath!" (Matthew 24.20). Should the disciples of Jesus not be there where the country needs defence - even by sacrificing their lifes - against the army of the enemy country? His notion of love includes the love for the enemies, therefore any kind of murders exclude the enforcement of this love: "Love your enemies ... and you will be the sons of the Most High God. For he is good to the ungrateful an the wicked." (Luke 6.35).

Nevertheless he did not change his nationality, although the formal representatives of his nation declared him as blasphemous and delivered him to the occupying power, to the force of a nation enemy to the Jews. The mission command left for us makes this obvious. Even after a three year long study period and an extra course of 40 days the disciples still have in their hearts a notion strange to the concept of Jesus. "Lord, will you at this time give the kingdom back to Israel?" - that was their last question to their Master referring to an expected messianistic war. Jesus however still counts on his own nation. He answers that his disciples should not worry about the national independency of Israel but they will have to be the witnesses of his concept using the power of the Spirit of God. Where will they have to be witnesses? Let's look at the order of places: "In Jerusalem, in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1.8)

Summing up what has been said: Jesus, who has strong national consciousness, considers his own nation as a primary material in the service of his concept on embracing all the nations in love. This concept does not exclude national consciousness but it does exclude a national army. He sees a national army as the perdition of a nation. Its absence is considered the way to save the nation.

Jesus, who eliminated murder from his means said: "Trust me, I defeated the world". We can also trust in these statements of his concept.

2. The fate of the national consciousness of Jesus in the history of the Church

The minds of the Twelve could hardly catch up with the way of seeing things that the Master wanted to teach. They had expected a Jewish hero, a potential leader of a messianic war. Their catch-up could not be provided automatically even by the Holy Spirit at Whitsuntide.

Although the Early Christians tried to stick to what they thought Jesus had taught, but even their consciousness in the first three centuries was not unanimously the consciousness of Jesus, and this statement is valid for the authors of the New Testament as well. If this hadn't been so, the Church wouldn't have been able to accept the right hand of Emperor Great Constantinus. It happened - without any bigger opposition of the Christian thinkers and confessors. Eysebius celebrates the new Christian Roman Empire as the realisation of the Prophets' hope. At the beginning of the next century Augustinus creates his theory about "just(ified)" war. Due to his influence appears in the liturgic doxology a God who "lives and rules" and at the same time Jesus is forgotten more and more. Jesus, who is lord while washing his disciples' feet, who is lord but doesn't keep servants, and came to serve and who will also serve us in the transcendence. (John 13.13-14; Mark 10.45; Luke 12.37)

As a result of this rearrangement in thinking, those who loyally serve the interests of the emperor become - at the emperor's will - bishops (or metropolitans) of the Church. Historically we get back in no time to the situation before Jesus where the prophets had to draw the attention of the Kings and High Priests of Israel to the intentions of God. Furthermore, because in these centuries there were no prophets at all (mainly because we got used to the fact that there was no need for them after the New Testament) we descended to the level of Jupiter's priests. We assured the emperors in their fights about the help of God in the same way as they did. Hence within the world of Christianity "the alliance of the throne and the altar" follows, like in many other cultures. As Francis Joseph, the "apostolic king" said: "Army, clergy, and nothing else!" If these two are on the side of the ruler, he does not need to fear. We have reached our days. During the Vietnamese War an American cardinal - Spelmann - encourages the soldiers in the name of God to protect the values of the Christian culture. The Catholic and non-Catholic prelates of the Eastern block did the same when assisting the opposite side - to protect the values of the socialist culture.

In the spirit of Augustinus' theology the ideal of the "Christian king" developes. The Hungarian history shows clearly how a nation led by a so-called Christian king integrates in Europe. The Hungarian people wandered into the Karpathian-basin. Our origins, cultural and language roots are far different of those nations surrounding us. Between three mill-stones - the Slavic, the Western and the Balcan - we were too weak alone. To integrate into Europe, we had to accept Christianity. It was our first king, Stephen the Saint, who made the country Christian, on not quite a nonviolent way - he had to massacre a considerable part of his nation to make the rest accept the "new faith". He was our first "Christian king", and after him, a row of Christian kings follows in our history. Such a king is apostolic, owns the church of his country, and leads his army as well. The leaders of his church are given positions in the army. The Church instead of building the Kingdom of God becomes the main assistant of a country/nation of this world. Instead of carrying the national consciousness of Jesus the Christians fulfil the prophesy of Christ: "Countries will fight each other" (Mark 13.8)

After more than one and a half thousand years of Christian wars at the second half of the last century the European nations put general military service into force. While previously only the nobles and mercenaries had to help to solve the national conflicts, here this became a national duty. (This means, that it is written in law, and acting against it is punished.) Only the orthodox Tolstoy lifted up his voice against this. He was excommunicated by his church. Our church kept silent and collaborated.

In the last five minutes of history the Second Council of Vatican allowed the "conscientious objection". But it did it in a way that permitted the members of the church to serve in the army (Gaudi et Spes 79). During the last one and a half decades for the first time in our nation's history the Bokor community questioned the teaching of our state-Christianity. It questioned the legality of conscription. Opposing both state and church our members denied any kind of armed military service. Our men refused to join up, our women threw their army cards to the trash or sent it back, stating that they did not wish to be administrated in the army. We did all this referring to Jesus, and asked for the help and support of the Catholic church. However, the hierarchy delimited itself from us saying that we represented a non-Catholic point of view, since it is the moral duty of each Catholic to defend the home-country. Furthermore, by doing this we would break the balance created by the NATO and the Warsaw Treaty. The court referred to the standpoint of our high priests and to the appropriate point of the GS when the conscientious objectors (apart from Bokor-members also the Witnesses of Jehova) were sent to prison for two or three years. The behaviour of Jesus was considered as non-Catholic.

3. Our Environment Today

The questions of nationality, although often in religious or other cover, causes problems up to now. In Eastern Europe it is clearly manifestated by a long war and still ongoing conflicts that this problem is unsolved. The small states of the former Soviet Union still have not found their places. Or we could mention the Hungarian minorities around, which suffer from oppression because of nationalism. All these, however, do not mean that Western Europe has dealt with its nationality problem successfully. In 1974 at the secret conference of nationalities in Triest the following nations/ethnic groups expressed their dissatisfaction with the status quo of their own states: - Great Britain: people from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Cornwall and Man Islands (pop. 49,000) - Spain: Catalans, Basques, Galicians - France: Bretons, Basques, Corsicans, Alsatians - Italy: Sicilians, Sardinians, Calabrians, people in Piemont, Tyroleans, Slovenians - The Netherlands: Frisians - Belgium: Flemings - Denmark: Norvegians on Faroer Islands (pop. 35,000), Greenlandic Eskimos - Austria: Croatians, Slovenians - Switzerland: French people in the Canton of Bern .

How much the Third World - getting liberated from the colonization - is effected by nationality tensions is covered by newspapers from time to time; apart from all secret meetings... bloody wars take place. In the last 20 years the dream of cosmopolitanism has turned into an illusion; even in the United States which was considered a melting pot which removes ethnic differences, the national origin proved to be even more important than anywhere else. (Professor Novak: "The Rise of the Anmeltable Ethnics")

We can see where the idea of national states has led. In this century the two bloodiest wars of history took place. Europe experienced that, due to technical improvement, war has become an uncontrollable massacre. Human strength and abilities play no more role. As most attacks are directed towards the civile societies of countries in conflict, now 9O % of those killed and injuried in a war are civile. It is not even the soldiers anymore whose life and existence is at stake and who suffer most. There is no more war, that is limited to the defence of a country, that is limited between the participants of a conflict, that leaves civilians and their supplies in peace. War and armed conflicts have nothing to do with defending our homeland anymore.

And what did the Church have to say to all these? The Hungarian army bishops in the WWII blessed all the efforts our country made to please Hitler, and they threatened with hell those soldiers who tried to refuse or escape. The era of Constantine is already over. The "just war"-theory of Augustine is now openly given up, also in the Church. It is practically equal to nonviolence today. In spite the army bishophry has just been reestablished in Hungary. Nowadays retreats are held to the Hungarian conscripts, but the possibility of civile service must not be mentioned, because "it would upset the conscience of the youngsters", the army bishop says.

The fight of a nation for its survival carried out economically or by the growth of population can lead to complete destruction. We do not even need a war to reach this. The Hungarian partner of the World Court Project was the BOCS Foundation, one of the Bokor's present legal entities, focusing on peace and environmental issues. The World Court decided just recently about the illegality of nuclear weapons. The use and threat of these are now, according to the international law, not justifyable. There is, however, one case, in which the World Court cannot clearly decide: and that is of the very survival of a state. When a state needs to fight for its survival, that means its borders are hurt, it is occupied or made a part of another state. This can mean plenty of suffering for the occupied people - but can it be even compared to the effects of a nuclear bomb? Think of the length of any occupation in our history. The defence of such temporary constructions as borders seems not too sensible. We still have not grasped, that the effectiveness of our own weapons are already far beyond our understanding and controll. Our weapons, not only the nuclear ones are not that simple anymore, as they had been for centuries, that we take them when a war begins and put them away as it ends. No, the effects of our used weapons go on and on, and even if they are not used, they cause suffering, starvation and death, because they suck up all resources from people. Whether produced, pulled down or stored, weapons mean a potential danger above our heads.

(The decision of the World Court, apart from its uncertainty at some points, is a significant and hopeful step, especially because the civil society of the world got involved during the project. The British media, fortunately, echoed this issue according to its importance. In Hungary, sorry to say, the daily newspapers published only some short news, lost among all the printed stuff.)

Survival of a nation? We have to be careful when we consider the importance of this question. At present our main problems are global. The thinking about money in general has dramatically changed. Interest was forbidden up to the 18. century - it is legal now. A debt-crisis arose in the whole world. During the eighties, the Thirld World has paid almost double as much as it owed. Yet their debt doubled. The same goes to the "indebted" countries of Eastern Europe.

These new ways of exploitation, more effective than ever before, now endanger not only the countries and present peoples, but also the Earth itself, thus the existence of future generations.

Aristotle, in his era, already knew about two kinds of economy. One with the aim to fulfil the needs of people, and an other that aims for profit. That means it fulfils only the need and greed of those who can pay. He found three territories dominated by this second type of economy: pirates, trading armes and importing luxury goods from long distances. He stated that once this economy takes the main role, it can mean the end of mankind. Today we are experiencing this kind of economy, and we can see, how it leads to death for all those who cannot pay for the fulfilment of their needs.

It is only one fifth of mankind, that uses up 80 % of the common resources and produces 80 % of trash and pollution. As the Earth is overexploited, this lifestyle and consumption have to end. Our fight for a better life standard is in vain. We have to understand that our resources are limited. One of our recent superpowers, the media, withholds the really burning issues. Instead of warning, how crucial questions we need to face, it serves the interests of other superpowers, it supports consumption, misleads our attention, overwhelms us with unimportant information and produces noise.

The Old Testament has a marvellous idea for the way out of the crisis. The year of Jubilee, every fiftieth year was meant to reestablish a fair and sharing society. To cancel all debts, to let slaves go home, to share with those in need. Our pope, who is very committed in social questions, now emphasizes this teaching, as the 2000th year comes closer. The Bible claims that the Earth is the property of God. We are only servants with the responsibility to handle this property, as our Master wishes. We are not free to misuse or ruin what we call "our property", as the Roman law claims. We have to be careful with our decisions.

Szent-Gyorgyi, who is also internationally known, wrote a book titled "The crazy ape". He, as a biologist, examines the reasons behind the mad behaviour of today`s people. He found that our brain is not so far developed that it could follow the changes that take place nowadays. These changes are simply too fast for our brain. We cannot grasp them. We cannot control the consequences of our decisions, be they economic, financial or politic. Our culture, which respects large scale production, huge numbers and amounts, unlimited growth in every field, is doomed to death.

4. What can we do?

What was God`s plan, when he put unlimited longing in us, but placed us onto a limited planet? He probably thought of a mankind that has stable consumtion and population. He gave many non-material dimensions, where our possibilities are unlimited. We can grow endless spiritually, intellectually, in love, in human relations, in creativity, art and many other fields. Material things cannot fulfil our endless wishes. Jesus said: Happy are the poor. But he said vows to the rich. Those in misery He did not claim happy either. If we want to be his followers, we have to accept the ways he lived, thought, spoke.

Our common survival is at stake. In the light of this fact it is clear: we, Christians cannot get stuck at the question of nationality. The established Catholic hierarchy has always been centuries behind the different happenings of the world. We have to take rather a leading role, seeking the radicality and cleverness of Jesus. The church has to oppose everything that is false in our world. The church has to foresee the future and warn against sins and tragedies. Christians have to lead, like Jesus, be controversial without compromises.

He did not use legal forces, army or police, nothing, that is supposed to be part of being a nation. So these are not our tools either. When it comes to national conflicts and problems, we have to seek the alternative ways of love to solve them.

I would like to mention a few examples from the practice of our Bokor movement in Hungary, to show a few of the many possibilities to decrease the hatred caused by a false interpretation of national feelings.

It has been very important to us to have contacts with the Hungarian minorities around. The strongest contacts we have in Romania. The first time it became possible (we received passports), we began to take through the borders books, clothes, medicines. Later on we began to take part in their activities: camps, youth events and programmes, gave lectures about environmental and peace issues. We tried and try to help them starting and developing their own groups, for instance by helping to set up an e-mail net in their countries.

We thought even more important to have contacts among the "opposition". To rise an inside opposition, an opposition in the opposition - this has much stronger effects in changing minds, stopping prejudice, to believe things different of those heard before. Such was the action some 6 years ago, when our community invited 300 Rumanian families to Hungary. They spent one week with our families, and later on the Hungarian families also took a visit to Rumania. We hoped to improve the contact between the Rumanians and the Hungarian minority living in Transylvania.

Since the beginning of the seventies we support the Third World by putting aside the 10 % of our income. We have a contact in India, a schoolsystem for village-children organised by Jesuits. We send them about 60 thousand US$ per year. Since Hungary is also in the richest one fifth of the Earth's population, we think we do have something to share. The leader of this project, Cedric Prakash SJ, visited us twice in Hungary, he became our good friend. When he came first, the iron curtain was still up+ while he experienced personally our circumstances, a Communist country, we got a strong and lively picture of their lives and work in India. In March this year I had the possibility to visit him and some of his 90 schools (he has now about fifteen thousand children involved). It was moving to see those children personally, whom we at home consider part of our family. (My parents sometimes say, and we were brought up in the belief, that we have some more brothers and sisters at some places, like Transylvania and India, to take care of.) The schools are run mostly by Catholic monks and nuns. The teachers are not necessarily Christians, but they are chosen carefully: they need to be committed and well trained people. Mostly they come from the same area as the children. They provide normal education. The whole school, with all its workers represent the atmosphere of wholeness and responsibility: they would like the children to give away the help they received, to return to their people as teachers, doctors, nurses, with the vision of a qualitative but sustainable future. The presence of the school itself also means an improvement for the villages around (local education for adults, medical support etc.).

The reason I could get to Asia was a conference held in Nepal. It was the meeting of several NGOs and basis groups. They tried to work out a self-helping common strategy. The representatives came mostly from South-Asia. Although they came with their own national problems, they were aware of the need of cooperation to resist the policies of their common enemies, which are not particular nations either: the World Bank, Europe or simply "the North" are supranational entities.

At Christmas 1990 we organised sending greeting-cards to Slovakia, where also many Hungarians live, and in 1991 to Yugoslavia, when the war began. We wrote peace-wishes and Christmas greetings on the cards. We had the text translated to their languages. The addresses we took from telephone-books, torn the pages out and spread them between friends, schools etc. Both of these actions resulted in still ongoing contacts, responses, friendships.

Since last year we are doing fundraising for Bosnian refugees by selling their handmade postcards they make in refugee camps. This is one work they can do till they can move back to their homes. The Bread of Life community helps them organising it.

One astonishing and beautiful example of resistance to war is that of Oromhegyes, a fewhundred-souled Hungarian village in Serbia, Vojvodina, which collectively refused military service in 1992. All the men gathered together in the Community Centre of the village and stayed there for 62 days. They quited only to count the pancers surrounding the village (there was 94)... They organised cultural events, wrote a diary of their time, collected documents, articles. They gave the name "Zitzer Spiritual Republic" to themselves, which referred to that their Republic has no territorial claims, has no borders, and its member can be anyone, who accepts the personal, also human right of civil inobedience, the right to think and to live. Their shield represents a pizza in the middle, and three pool-balls in the corners - all referring to the "Zitzer Club" where they spent these 62 days. "There are two possibilities in a hopeless situation - one of them later said - you either go mad, or you try to have fun." And why they suffered no harm? They later identified this in the fact, that they were the shop-window of the "new Serbian democracy" toward the West.

Also within Hungary there is a minority causing many problems: the gipsies. They now make out about 7 % of our population, but 35 % of the imprisoned. They cannot carry on with their wandering culture anymore, and this means a loss of their identity. They behave according to this: they cannot fit in the society, cannot use the aids and other kinds of help they are provided by the local governments, e.g. ruin the flat they are given. Most of them are not well educated (many even illiterate), and are therefore unemployed. There are many small races also within the category "gipsies", and there are conflicts also between these minorities within a minority. The society respond to all these with prejudice and hatred: gipsies are considered dirty, dangerous (because they steal, and because of their growing number, while the Hungarian population is decreasing), criminals and improper. Not knowing much of their lost and present culture, e. g. the local government does not know what would be an appropriate help for them, or how a peaceful way of living with them could be worked out. It is also hard to get them to cooperate. We can help them through personal contacts in some ways, like dealing with different legal authorities for them.

I had the chance to participate as the only one from Eastern Europe in the World University Student's Peace Summit last year in Kyoto. This was the closing event of the several that took place for the 50th anniversary of the end of the WWII, and of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing. We were there from almost 40 countries, altogether 500 people. One important part was for me to experience, how difficult it is, to write a common statement, including each one's point of view and how hard it is to talk about problems when someone personally touched by it, suffering from it sits there, and you are the source of it yourself.

We also talked a lot about how past bloody wars of our countries touch us. Most of the young people said, it is actually over for them, it is gone past. We do not feel the anger our parents feel anymore if we are told of what happened. And we all agreed, that it is important to forgive - but that it is necessary not to forget! Not to forget the dreadfulness of the wars, not to forget the suffering they cause. We must not forget it, if we do not want ot repeat it.

These experiences has helped us to discover the values of other nations, other cultures. This side of belonging to a nation, loving and developing a culture - a cultural national conscientiousness is very important. Each small group, each minority, each culture is precious. As a parallel, I'd like to refer to biodiversity. Extinction of species makes our biosphere unstable. Wildlife with millions of species is able to survive any catastrophe, some hundred thousand species could adapt themselves to changes. But with a small biodiversity our living globe can easily be died. This global society is more and more uniformed. This mad competition of nations, corporations, armies destroy (and humankind loses) more and more languages, tribes, ancient arts, games, customs of simple joyful life, wisdom of love, education, family and community life, skills of living together with nature, traditions of country life, cultures of small nations. A humankind which is poor in diversity, will be unable to survive the recent global crisis. Two hundred nations - this is very few. If we think in these terms, we tend to forget about the plenty of small entities within the nations. Each of these enrichens mankind with its own special values. Each contributes to the survival of mankind, to the way out of our dreadful situation now..

The culture of survival can be marked with these three phrases: Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. The Conciliar Process is planning its second European Assembly next summer in Graz, the topic of which is Reconciliation. The Church does have a word when it comes to our common problems. And not only in causing wars, but also in encouraging peace it has an important role.

To read a new short story - it would be great. A new one where Uncle Vaszo says: "We almost came to blow when all of a sudden the Serbian priest went up to the church and preached: 'Hungarians are the creatures of God as you are, don't do any harm to them since you are Christians too.' The Hungarian priest also went up to the church and said: 'God created the Serbians and you are from Christ, so let's love them.' And they had been preaching until we made peace with each other."