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Parliament may consider 8-10 more churches in fall

Another eight to ten religious organizations could apply for official church status during parliament's fall session, state secretary in charge of church issues László Szászfalvi told MTI on Saturday.

Szászfalvi said 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, Szászfalvi said. He promised that his secretariat would ensure "the least bureaucracy and the utmost speed" in the registration process.

Szászfalvi also said that the government would ensure that religious organizations 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, recognizes 14 churches; other organizations will need approval by two-thirds of Parliament to be registered as a church or religious congregation.