Lóránt Hegedűs Jr. Reprimanded

2014. március 11., kedd

The verdict has been given in the disciplinary procedure regarding the service at the Szabadság Square reformed church and unveiling of the Horthy statue occurring on 3 November. On 7 March, the presbytery court of the Budapest-North Presbytery issued a written reprimand to Rev. Lóránt Hegedűs Jr.

The behavior of Hegedűs “collided with the measure of pure moral testified in the Gospel” that is why, according to the law on church judiciary procedure, he has committed a disciplinary offence. According to the decision, the pastor received a written reprimand and he is obligated to pay the court fees incurred by a witness.

Section from the 2000. I. Church Law:

30. § Disciplinary offences of the church official


(…) f.) act or omission, which collides with the measure of pure moral testified in the Gospel or violates the authority of the church office held by the accused,  corrupts the credibility of the church – and undermines the trust necessary for the office, (…)

On the basis of the evidence, the court has verified that Hegedűs’ sermon on temperance given on the 3rd of November reflected something entirely different. In the opinion of the judge who announced the verdict, Hegedűs has in fact committed a heavy disciplinary offence, but since the former disciplinary procedures against him made no reprimand the court did not find it justified to defrock him. The aim of the church judiciary is not to impose the most serious punishment possible, but to keep order in the life of the church, the judge said.

Tension in the court room

Besides the many journalists – more than a hundred – the Szabadság Square congregation members and sympathizers came to hear the court’s ruling, many of which could not fit into the courtroom. The lack of space resulted in a commotion, which led to tension between the sympathizers and journalists. The tension often turned into loud arguments between the two groups. In the end, the anger of the dissatisfied participants could be soothed by singing reformed hymns.

György Horváth, the church legal advisor, could not appear at the court’s ruling, but afterward he stated he would appeal the verdict. This time, Hegedűs did appear in court and gave a press conference at Kálvin Square directly following the announcement of the verdict.

Hegedűs stated with his lawyer, Dr. Árpád Nemes, that they can only react to the decision after they have read its detailed justification. But he said in advance, the assigned court had to declare the disciplinary verdict because of the statement from István Szabó, bishop of the Danubian Church District, which Hegedűs claims was worded under media pressure. As he said, the political character of the unveiling or service could not be proved, and he rejected the evaluation of his sermon’s overtone. The reformed pastor refused the charge of anti-Semitism as well. As an example, he mentioned that a descendent of a Holocaust survivor is a member of his congregation. “I have always been absolved before and this will have the same end too.” With these words, he calmed his sympathizers.

“In comparison to the accusation, a moderate decision was delivered,” said Nemes. According to him, the rules of the procedure were injured, and it is not clear if the office or Botond Csepregi’s claim started the process. The claim of the church website’s editor in chief was namely combined with the disciplinary procedure of the office by the court during the first session on 30 January.



written by György Feke; translated by Anita Polgári

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