Ex-Communist László Kövér has no business dedicating Catholic chapel

The August 29th dedication of the new Chapel (Magyarok Nagyasszonya kápolna) at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC will start with a Solemn Mass celebrated by Cardinal Wuerl of Washington and Cardinal Erdő of Esztergom-Budapest. Readings and choral pieces will be both in English and in Hungarian.

This could be a wonderful religious event, but Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi plans to turn it into a right-wing nationalist political rally.

The Embassy will set up a tent at the outside terrace of the Basilica to serve a “Hungarian feast and picnic” where Mr. László Kövér, the Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, and Mr. Miklós Soltész, State Secretary in charge of Church relations, can do political hobnobbing with the carefully (only RSVP) selected audience.

We asked Jacquelyn Hayes, Director of Communications of the Basilica about the Ambassador’s plan and she told HFP that the dedication is strictly a religious ceremony. No political statements, declarations or discussions are allowed in the Basilica, and politicians may participate as worshipers, just like everyone else.

Interior of the Basilica.

Interior of the Basilica.

It is inappropriate to emphasize on the Embassy’s invitation that politicians Mr. Kövér and Mr. Soltész will be “in attendance”. The Embassy also distributed a video invitation. To my surprise, Ms. Hayes has never seen it although it contains a clip from Monsignor Rossi of the Shrine. (Click here to see it.)

On the YouTube video Mr. Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister, is making a political declaration by repeating his thesis that all Americans with Hungarian origins live in the “diaspora” and are “members of the Hungarian Nation” as “Hungarians.” Most Americans consider this notion offensive and reject this nationalist agenda. American Nobel Prize winner Mr. György Oláh publicly asked to be called an American of Hungarian origin. (See here after min. 10.)

Mr. Kövér is also known for anti-American statements. He attacked US policies and Presidents Bush and Obama numerous times while praising World War II Hungarian fascists and making other controversial statements. Mr. Kövér also had leadership positions in the Communist Youth organization (KISZ) and started his career as a “researcher” for the Hungarian Communist Party leadership. He has never apologized for his past and even tried to cover up his activities. Many Hungarian Americans left their birth country illegally during the Kádár-regime; a lot of them suffered and were even jailed under Communism for practicing their Catholic faith. It would be a disgrace to have the ex-Communist Mr. Kövér present at this dedication. It shows the deep cynicism of the Hungarian leadership and the political opportunism of Ambassador Szemerkényi. (More about Mr. Kövér here.)

 László Kövér is hiding his Communist past.

László Kövér is hiding his Communist past.

The Ambassador even added a dose of syncretism in her invitation by calling the Chapel a shrine “for all Hungarians” independently from their religious beliefs. The Basilica was “raised by Catholics of the United States because of their devotion to Mary the Mother of God, gives visibility to their faith and Catholic heritage.”

Madame Ambassador, the dedication of the Chapel is a Catholic religious event. Don’t turn it into a political rally! Ex-Communist Mr. Kövér’s presence would be humiliating to the Hungarian-American community. He should stay at home in Budapest.

György Lázár


  1. I watched the video of the Embassy’s invitation and when it came to Mr. Kover’s speech I had to read the English subtitle. I couldn’t understand a single word he said. Can he speak Hungarian at all? Or is he suffering from some mental derailment or neurological disorder? Couldn’t even give a short articulated speech.
    He, more exactly the whole Fidesz, are trying so hard to find how to push through. I don’t think I’m a dreamer but I sense that there is a kind of awakening. How long will it be until he uses up all his masks and his real face can be seen? I mean for everybody. May be not too long.

  2. Richard–

    Long years of corruption, internalized hatred and a twisted past, like the one that Kover has, distorts the mind and soul. This is what you saw and heard in that video!

  3. Avatar András B. Göllner says:

    The least of the problem with Kövér is his Communist past. It’s his current behavior that stinks. He is a supporter of ex Nazis and racist bigots like Csurka, Nyirö. He is deeply involved in the whitewashing of Hungary’s shameful participation in the persecution of the Jews , and in resurrecting relics of the discredited Horthy era. He has nothing but scorn for the norms of parliamentary democracy, and suggests that his opponents should just hang themselves from a beam. He publicly compared Hungary’s accession to the EU as Trianon. He publicly endorsed lying as the sine qua non of politics. His disrespect of the rules of democratic political competition, his disrespect for the victims of the holocaust does not entitle him to stand in the light of glory, next to the Washington Basilica. I trust that people of decency and those who respect the dignity of our fellow human beings will come out and protest against this man who demonizes his democratic opponents as HIV carriers.Kövér needs to be named and shamed, and I hope someone in the US capital will take the courage to do so. If anyone should be banned from entering America, it is László Kövér.

  4. Kövér is not and was not ever a communist! There would be nothing wrong with a communist or a Marxist being present on the basilica. Kövér was and is an opportunist, like hundreds of thousands of people in the MSZMP and like people in Fidesz today. And because Hungary is drifting towards fascism, he recognizes a political opportunity and is turning into a fascist.

  5. Avatar György Lázár says:

    Many of us asked for political asylum in the US in the 1960s and 70s. And many of us had bad experiences, to put it mildly, with „KISZ titkárs”, MSZMP apparatchiks and other servants of the Kádár-regime. Nobody forced Mr. Kövér to assume leadership positions in the Communist Youth movement or work for MSZMP, in fact, it was quite competitive in those days to receive these „juicy positions”. Beyond the assumption that Mr. Kövér is a spineless opportunist, he was part of the Communist Youth leadership and worked for MSZMP. He should account for those activities… and he should be disinvited to the dedication.

    • Avatar Arpad Kovacs says:

      Yeah, you are right. Many of us got asylum in the U.S.
      But at least we should not judge those who stuck it out and did not enjoy the riches of America.
      Laszlo Kover was NEVER a Commie leader, maybe a little screw in the machine, just like most people.


    I am sure there are ex-communists in all the parties. As it is obviously hypocritical and demagogic of Fidesz to use this against the opposition, the opposition should not do likewise.

    The defining trait of Orban and Fidesz is principle-free, scruple-free opportunism. Let us call it and them what they really are.

  7. Avatar András B. Göllner says:

    Maria Magdalena was a prostitute, and Christ allowed her to wash his feet. She became the faithful servant of the Messiah. Kövér worked the streets under Kádár, and he’s doing the same under Orbán. The Wahington Basilica is no place for latter.

  8. Avatar Arpad Kovacs says:

    This is really interesting. Both the far left (this site) and the Hungarian far Right hate Laszlo Kover. At least I know the far Right’s reason: because he is Jewish and Conservative. Well, I guess the two extremes are not that different…

  9. Avatar Arpad Kovacs says:

    And I do not mind at all that he is dedicating a Catholic chapel…

  10. Arpad, how are you determining who is “far left”? Because when I read this site and other publications that are liberal leaning, there is nothing extreme about them. This sounds like a label that people who are used to the Hungarian type of democracy use for anyone who believes in Human rights and freedom for Hungarians, doesn’t hate immigrants or Jews and thinks that people should benefit from EU money, instead of politicians or cronies. In Canada, I am considered a centrist, but to Hungarians, they call me a socialist or extreme left. Are you used to our type of democracy or the “illiberal” type?

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