Catholic Procession and Hungary’s National Holiday

March 15th is Hungary’s most important National Holiday. It is not a religious occasion. It commemorates the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 that grew into a war for independence from the Habsburg rule. From the Catholic Habsburg rule.

The Hungarian Consulate of Chicago has sent out an invitation to a March 15th celebration taking place at Saint Stephen King of Hungary Roman Catholic Church. The event will start with a Catholic Procession.


It is a longstanding tradition in the US to separate church and state business. Religion should not be part of National Holidays, particularly in this case, where the 1848 anti-Habsburg uprising had a definite anti-Catholic edge. Lajos Kossuth, leader of the revolution, was a Protestant who married a Catholic woman but never was a great fan of the Catholic Church. Pope Pius IX was a strong ally of the Habsburgs and the Church became the target during the 1848 European Revolutions. When Mazzini proclaimed the Republic of Rome, even the Pope had to flee. In Hungary the 1848 Revolution abolished the tithe; the Catholic high clergy was not happy about that.

And why invite Hungarian diplomats to speak at these events. They will use the podium to spread the nationalist propaganda very much in fashion today in Budapest.

Zita Bencsik, Hungary’s Consul in Chicago.

The message of the 1848 Revolution is not about nationalism; just the opposite. Kossuth dreamed about a Danubian Confederation, a multi-ethnic, multinational alliance in the Carpathian Basin.

On January 7, 1852 Kossuth gave a speech at the dinner given by the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C., He introduced himself as the “the first Governor of independent Hungary, driven from his native land by Russian violence; an exile on Turkish soil, protected by a Mahometan Sultan against the bloodthirst of Christian tyrants…”

If he was alive, he would be shocked to learn that the March 15th National Holiday is celebrated with a Catholic Procession in Chicago.

György Lázár

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