Religion: Breathing Room in Hungary

In Pope Paul's Vatican diplomacy, realpolitik blends with visionary hope: a so-so deal is better than none if it gives promise of some day leading to attainment of the church's goals. Last week, at the Foreign Ministry in Budapest, Monsignor Agostino Casaroli of the Vatican's Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs signed an agreement with Hungarian Bureaucrat Jozsef Prantner that will provide a small but significant bit of breathing room for the country's 6,000,000 Roman Catholics.

Casaroli, who recently negotiated the disposition of Roman Catholic property with Moslem Tunisia, took over the job of dealing with Hungary from Vienna's Franziskus Cardinal König. Originally,...

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