Although Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen was acquitted by a court of second instance, the legal battle, unfortunately, may not be fully won. As Räsänen wrote in a press release, she hopes ‘the prosecutor will be satisfied with the decision, but if not, I am ready to defend freedom of expression and religion also before the Supreme Court of Finland, and if necessary, even before the European Court of Human Rights.’ It soon turned out that the prosecutor is considering turning to the Supreme Court.
The spirit and dedication to God of Cardinal Duka were not broken when in prison as an underground clergyman—he kept conducting masses for his prison mates that he disguised as occasions of a chess club. A couple of years ago, in an interview with Mandiner, he said: ‘My personal experience is, as someone who also suffered imprisonment for the sake of justice, is that the question often arises: “who is really the prisoner?”. It was not clear whether it was us or those who were looking at us from the other side of the bars.’
According to the Annual Persecution Report of ChinaAid, a non-governmental Christian non-profit that focuses on human rights abuses and religious freedom in China, government pressure on Christian churches and faithful to yield to political ideology has only increased since the signing of the 2018 agreement between the Holy See and Beijing.
Marcela Szymanski of the charity Aid to the Church in Need also welcomed the announcement. ‘It is absolutely extraordinary that six years after Hungary created a department in charge of persecuted Christians, another country finally joins them in acknowledging this reality. Not one single other nation with a Christian majority has dared to do so.’
Answering the call of the representatives of Orthodox communities, Hungary recognised that the Russian Orthodox Church has some 100 million members worldwide, and the sanctioning of its leader would isolate religious people from their spiritual leader. The Patriarch is regularly prayed for and commemorated during church services in Hungary, too, as it is home to a Hungarian Orthodox community under the Moscow Patriarchate.