leaders reactedto this development fartoo late and indecisively. Bishop Ottókar Prohaszka (1858-1927) became a champion of social justice, and a noteworthy organiser was Sandor Giesswein, a canon of Gyor diocese, the founder of the Christian-Social Union, which in 1906 already had 20,000 members and which soon developed into a political party The party's co-operation with the Catholic People's Alliance ('Katolikus Nepszovetseg') increased its membership to 300,000, and it was active in ninety-eight working men's associations and forty-five regional branches.
A further contribution to the defence of the church's interests and the deepening of religious life was made by the twelve Catholic congresses that were held between 1894 and 1918, mostly in Budapest. During these three-day conventions, there was a public session each day, usually with three lectures; the rest of the days were given over to work by specialist panels charged with formulating wishes and demands relating to religious-charitable and social issues. Amongst the problems discussed, the questions of the Catholic press, Christian socialism and social issues (charity, the status of apprentices, male and female workers, prison chaplaincy, etc.) were given special attention. In this way the Catholic congresses - despite defamatory attacks from the anticlerical and liberal press - contributed to directing the attention of society and the church to developments which until then had gone more or less unnoticed. As for the bishops, who in 1900 were still living like aristocrats, changes began to take place in 1906, when the new minister for cults, Albert Apponyi, assumed office. He was instrumental in the appointment of truly apostolic, energetic senior bishops, of whom Ottokar Prohaszka was one example. A man of many talents, Prohaszka used both the written and the spoken word to arouse Hungarian Catholicism from its slumbers. He gave fresh impetus to the formation of priests and to pastoral work, attended to social issues and the relationship between theology and science, and led the ascetic life of a saint. Although he was the most noteworthy figure in Hungarian Catholicism since the death of Cardinal Peter Pazmany (d. 1637), he had opponents who in 1911 saw to it that three of his works were - completely undeservedly and misguidedly - placed on the Roman Index.
The training of clergy in diocesan seminaries continued to follow a Josephinist-mechanical pattern, beginningto change only around 1900 with the introduction of academic subjects including scholastic philosophy, catechesis, homiletics, sociology and pastoral care for the sick, as well as aids to spiritual formation including retreats, frequent confession and daily communion. Towards the end of the nineteenth century a slow but steady process of reform ofthe religious orders also tookplace. Alongwiththe Dominicans, Carmelites,
Was this article helpful?