August 8th, 2011

Parliament could consider applications for more churches in autumn

A further eight to ten religious organisations could apply for official church status during parliament’s autumn session, state secretary in charge of church issues Laszlo Szaszfalvi told MTI on Saturday.

Szaszfalvi said that, so far, the Hungarian Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostal and Seventh-Day Adventist churches, as well as two Islamic congregations, the Buddhists and some other parties had indicated they wished to be officially registered as churches.

Applications for church status are to be submitted to the Justice Ministry, which will pass them on to parliament for a decision, Szaszfalvi said. He promised that his secretariat would ensure “the least bureaucracy and the utmost speed” in the registration process.

Szaszfalvi also said that the government would ensure that religious organisations that run social institutions or schools but that are not considered churches under Hungary’s new church law would continue to receive per capita funding from the central budget in 2011 and 2012. He added, however, that the details of the financing must still be settled.

The new church law, passed by parliament on July 12, recognises 14 churches; other organisations will need approval by two-thirds of Parliament to be registered as a church or religious congregation.

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