Brothers of Charity and Franciscans, the Jesuits in particular recorded an upturn, and in i900 the Hungarian Jesuit province was established. Women's religious orders grew rapidly: whereas in 1877 there had been eighty-two religious communities in Hungary, with a total of 993 nuns, by i9i7 the number of convents had risen to 463, and there were 7,060 nuns.
Although church activity was restricted during the period of neo-absolutism (1849-67), academic theology was nevertheless able to develop. Several professors at the Theological Faculty of Budapest University became well known throughout Europe, high-quality, ambitious new journals helped develop theology and pastoral work, and every area of theology could boast outstanding scholars. Particularly remarkable were the church historians, who attracted considerable attention both at home and abroad as a result of distinguished serial publications such as Monumenta Ecclesiae Strigoniensis, Monumenta Vaticana Dioecesis Vesprimiensis and Monumenta Vaticana Hungariae. At the end of the nineteenth century Catholic societies and the Catholic press blossomed. However, the country's total of sixty-two Catholic newspapers could not compete with the liberal Hungarian press: in 1886, the Catholic press still only accounted for 3.6 per cent of the media output in the capital city alone. This meant that a Catholic press apostolate was needed. The Jesuit Bela Bangha achieved this objective when, in 1908, he founded a Catholic news agency, a publishing house, and a famous newspaper (Magyar Kultura) with the help of an endowment.
In 1896 Hungary celebrated its millennium, a thousand years of the nation's existence. The festivities for this and for the coronation of Karl IV (Emperor Karl I of Austria) in i9i6 showed the whole world the power and splendour of the Hungarian Catholic Church. However, a serious crisis lurked behind the magnificent exterior, and one reason for it was that those forces within society that questioned the existing relationship between church and state were gaining ground ever more rapidly.
Despite this, a renewal movement from within the Catholic Church slowly set itself in motion. By the early twentieth century, priests and religious of an apostolic spirit had emerged, who did outstanding work especially in the capital. Some of the bishops, however, remained as immovable as ever, and were still closely allied to the ruling political factions, primarily in order to protect the church's property, wealth and estates (latifundia).
The warnings and wake-up calls of individual bishops, priests and Catholic politicians went unheeded, and as a result, in i9i4, Hungarian Catholicism was inwardly completely unprepared as it slid into World War I and thence into defeat, chaos and, in i9i9, a communist dictatorship.
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