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Pope salutes Hungary 50 years after uprising

Pope Benedict saluted the „courageous people” of Hungary on Monday, the 50th anniversary of an uprising against Soviet domination which he said was a time for Europe to reflect on its spiritual values.

Benedict recalled how the Pope at that time, Pius XII, made „grief stricken appeals” for Hungary's right to self-determination. „Memories are still vivid of the tragic events that, in the space of a few days left thousands of people dead or wounded and caused deep distress throughout the world,” Benedict said in a massage to Hungarian President László Sólyom. Some 2,600 Hungarians died battling the Soviet Army and more than 200 were executed for their role in the 1956 uprising, which was one of the key episodes of the Cold War. „Despite all the oppression they have endured down the centuries, most recently from Soviet communism, your people have always maintained the correct evaluation of the relationship between the State and citizens, beyond all ideology,” Benedict said. „The heartfelt wish that I now renew is that Hungary may build a future free from all forms of oppression and ideological conditioning.” Benedict said the commemoration of the Hungarian uprising should spur a „reflection on the moral, ethical and spiritual ideals and values that have shaped Europe”. While the „iron curtain” that divided Europe during the Cold War has lifted, the Vatican has voiced concerns that a westernized society may lose touch with its Christian roots. (