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Wednesday, July 26, 2017


While searching for information on a nineteenth century Hungarian bishop, I came upon a preview of a book on the participation of Hungarian bishops at the Second Vatican Council: Pressed by a Double Loyalty – Hungarian Attendance at the Second Vatican Council – 1959 – 1965 by András Fejérdy. 

I read several snippets from the book, found them interesting, and purchased the book. This work provides a comprehensive and dispassionate view of the Hungarian episcopate at the Council, the motives and actions of the Hungarian government in allowing a controlled participation by certain bishops in the four sessions of the Council, including information on their escorts appointed by the Hungarian government, and the Holy See’s negotiations with the government and the part which the negotiations played in the larger Ostpolitik pursued by the Holy See.

The author includes a chronology for the period 1945 - 1975 as well as three annexes concerning the various bishops, periti, and escorts and the contributions of individual bishops to the work of the Council. 

This is the first English language work on a Central or Eastern European episcopate’s participation in the Second Vatican Council of which I am aware.  I found this to be a fascinating account of a special period in the history of the Catholic Church in Hungary and I am grateful to Dr. Fejérdy for his excellent scholarship which is so evident throughout this book. I highly recommend this book.