Thursday, August 31, 2017

Saint Stephen's Day in Hungary: A Celebration of Christian Heritage, History, and Identity

A photo of fireworks celebrating St. Stephen's Day in Budapest near the parliament buildings.
Saint Stephen fireworks celebrations at Hungary's parliament building in Budapest, on August 20.
Photo: About Hungary Blog/St. Stephen’s Day in Hungary: What makes it special and what to look for this year

On August 20, Hungarians celebrate Saint Stephen's Day; a national holiday that commemorates the founding of the state by its first monarch King Saint Stephen, the Christianization of the Magyars, and the history of a nation that has endured for more than one thousand years.

It was a day filled with a variety of festivities, traditions, and celebrations—observed by Hungarian communities throughout the Carpathian Basin—that put Hungary's Christian history, heritage, and identity on full display: the celebration of the Mass at St. Stephen's Basilica, followed by a procession with a relic venerated in Hungary as St. Stephen's holy right hand; a flag-raising ceremony; the swearing-in of new military officers; an address by President János Áder; a nationwide cake competition; the blessing of bread under the statue of St. Stephen at the Buda castle, followed by a procession; the Festival of Arts in the Buda Castle District; "Nostaglic Rides" on vintage trams and buses that only make their debut once a year; the fireworks at the Danube river (captured in the above photo) that are second to none; the Streets of Hungarian Tastes which this year also featured foods from the other Visegrad Four (V4) nations, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia; air and water parades; and several family programs and concerts. 

Saint Stephen or Szent István Király, whose reign lasted from 1000-1038, was canonized on August 20, 1083, by Pope Gregory VII for bringing Christianity to Hungary and was later deemed the patron saint of Hungary.

In 1771, Queen Maria Theresa declared August 20, as a national state and Church holiday. 

Throughout Hungary's history, there were gaps when this day was not celebrated; the most recent during the communist era of the last century (1945-1990) when attempts were made to remove Hungary's Christian heritage, history, and identity from the hearts and minds of the people.

The Hungarian people have not forgotten who they are and through their faith, perseverance, determination, and hard work, the Christian character of St. Stephen's Day has been restored for several years now.

The fact that Hungary celebrates this day on a national level and publishes information about it at the official Hungarian blog and government web site speaks volumes about a people who publicly acknowledge, give thanks, and praise God for the many blessings and gifts bestowed upon Hungary. 

As one who follows Hungary's official blog, it came as no surprise to see a post published by Zoltán Kovács, St. Stephen’s Day in Hungary: What makes it special and what to look for this year.

I have been reading about Hungary for approximately three years and became so impressed with the people and its leadership under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz party he leads, that I eventually decided to start blogging about Hungary. Given Hungary's predominantly Christian culture and the many responsible policy developments with regard to its political, economic, and social life—the details of which can read from Orbán's State of the Nation address—it was only a matter of time before I added "Hungary" and "Viktor Orbán" as blog labels to my blog.

So impressed have I been with Hungary and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that my first blog post entitled, Viktor Orbán: A True Leader of and for the People of Hungary and Hungary's Constitution The Fundamental Law of Hungarywas dedicated to spotlighting Hungary's constitution—which is explicitly Christian—as well as Orbán's leadership qualities; in particular with respect to the proper and efficient response to the Middle East migrant crisis and his speech on March 15, 2016, the annual day that Hungarians commemorate the 1848 Revolution.

After reading Kovacs's blog post, I navigated to the Hungarian government's web site to view the details of Saint Stephen's Day, which the government has dedicated an entire page to entitled, Augusztus Huszadika or August 20. I encourage all who are further interested to view this page, especially the photo gallery.

The more I read about this national celebration, the more impressed I became with the people of Hungary: the spirit of the celebrations; the joy of the festivities; the upholding of traditions; the devotion to God at Mass and processions; the participation by millions of people of all ages; and the respect given to God and to neighbour which Zoltán Kovács captured in his aforementioned blog post, "Here on August 20th, everyone is Hungarian, a day to celebrate, remember, and give thanks." 

God bless Hungary and all Hungarian communities throughout the world.

Monday, August 28, 2017

My Daily Bread: A Treasure Trove of the Spiritual Life

My Daily Bread reading, reflection, and prayer: A Right Intention in All Things
Book One, The Way of Purification, Part One, Chapter 3, Conversion: A Right Intention in All Things

Living a Spiritual LIfe is not something that is so readily understood. Some may consider going to Mass once a week on Sunday and the recitation of a few prayers as sufficient to live such a life, but there is much more to it than that. Consider the following questions: 

  • Have you ever made a resolution to improve your Spiritual Life at Confession, during Mass, at a retreat, during a pilgrimage or some other moment of grace and failed to follow through on it?
  • Have you been struggling to give Christ an honest, daily effort in following Him?
  • Do you seem to lack a genuine compunction of heart?
  • Are you going through spiritual tepidity?
  • Do you seek a closer friendship with God?
  • Are you finding it difficult to conquer bad habits?
  • Would you like to have a true devotion to Jesus?
  • Are certain sins exceptionally difficult to overcome?
  • Would you like to live a Spiritual Life, but do not know what that entails?
  • Do you lack the knowledge and understanding about the spiritual combat, life's daily warfare?

If you have answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, then you may want to seriously consider purchasing a copy of My Daily Bread.

For conscientious Catholics striving to follow Christ with a greater love and fidelity, this book is a treasure trove to draw from; a summary of the Spiritual Life made simple and easy to follow with daily readings, reflections and prayer. 

The book was authored by Rev. Anthony J. Paone, S.J. and was first published in 1954. It is considered a Christian classic that to date has sold over 1 million copies.

So many people have had the opportunity to purchase this book due to the efforts of the Confraternity of the Precious Blood in Brooklyn, New York—originally founded in 1890, and dedicated to supporting the historic Monastery of the Precious Blood in Brooklyn, and the religious sisters who call it home—who are well known for publishing many other pocket devotionals including: My Daily Life, My Imitation of Christ, and My Meditation on the Gospel.

One of the many benefits of making My Daily Bread your prayer companion is the noticeable, lived-experience of a deep interior life. As it states in the Foreword, "This book must be read, not only with the head, but with the heart. We must think and pray. This daily exercise will transform belief into realization, theory into practice."

In addition to better understanding your faults, imperfections, and sins, this book invites each individual to lead a virtuous life and to grow in God's grace; explained like no other book that I have ever read, reflected upon, and prayed about.

My Daily Bread is divided into three books that treat respectively the three ways of the Spiritual Life: Purification, Imitation, and Union. Each book is further divided into various parts that begin with a brief introduction, setting the tone for the many chapters that follow. It is during the chapter readings that each individual is invited to, "listen, think and answer Him."

Whether you are newly converted to the Catholic faith, a daily communicant or somewhere in between, My Daily Bread, is perhaps "the" book to acquire to truly understand and live the Spiritual Life.

The Way of Purification

The Way of Purification is the first stage of the Spiritual Life; a life long task and a daily goal.

Purification is a process whereby we reform what has been deformed in us by sin. It consists of five parts: Conversion, After ConversionTemptation, Conquering Bad Habits, and Self-Conquest Through Mortification.

The daily effort entails that each individual strive to rid oneself of all serious sin and any predominant venial faults that may lead to mortal sin. By doing so a foundation is laid for the development of virtues, which will be practiced in a more positive manner rather than in opposition to present faults.

To get a sense of the "treasure trove" contained within this book, below is an excerpt from Part One, Conversion, Chapter Three, A Right Intention in All Things:
[Christ] MY CHILD, In all things I want you to have a right intention. This means I want you to have a supernatural purpose in whatever you think, do, or say...
A right intention, however, may have different degrees of perfection. Thus, when you do something simply to please Me, your intention is higher than if you think of your own advantage. Still, whatever be the degree of your right intention, it always seeks to fulfill My Will, and it always brings you a greater good than any intention which seeks only your earthly welfare.
Regardless of feelings, moods, prejudices, or preferences, strive to maintain a right intention at all times...
Do not let life's daily events disturb nor affect you too much. Seek to know My Will and to accept it in all things. With this pure intention, you will have a deep interior peace. This is my gift to those who let Me govern their lives...(6)

The Way of Imitation

This second stage invites the reader to a greater following of Christ and consists of four parts: Following Jesus in Daily LIfe; Virtues Leading Directly to God; Man's Relation With His Neighbour and With Himself; and The Spiritual Combat.

Previously in the first stage, the advancement of virtue occurred by resisting one's faults that the virtues were opposed to. In the second stage, one is lead to rise to a higher degree of union with God by imitating the example which Jesus gave us.

This second level is referred to as the "illuminative way, the way of enlightenment." One is drawn closer to God and comes to understand God more clearly, and appreciate Him more fully.

As in notes in Book Two, "Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life...Learn of Me...' Christ's follower must now take his eyes away from himself for longer periods, so that he may concentrate more and more upon his King and Model." (222)

The development of virtue is now aimed at demonstrating a greater love and fidelity to Christ. Here is an excerpt from Part One, Following Jesus in Daily LIfe, Chapter 2, The Divine Teacher:
[Christ] MY CHILD, My grace is richer, deeper, grander, and more glorious than any other possession or achievement on earth. It shows you what is better and more profitable for your eternal success. It strengthens you against all earthly attractions and makes you the true master of your own life...
I speak to different persons in different ways, according to their background, abilities, and efforts. I do not always use words when I speak within your soul. Often My message is received and understood in an instant. In your reading, reflecting, and prayer, I often speak to you. I help you to understand more clearly what you read in books or hear in sermons. The grandest sermon would be just so many words if I did not bless it with My grace. It is I who enable the listeners to understand it, desire it, and live it. (226)

The Way of Union

The third stage consists of three parts: Striving for Closer Union; Union Through the Holy Eucharist; Union Throughout the Day.

At this stage, the follower of Christ is now purified of all serious faults and most of the lesser defects, and after having proven to be unselfish and loyal, there is a longing for a more intimate union with God. 

The follower of Christ strives to give oneself completely to God, which He in due time, generously rewards by raising the soul to the highest spiritual level: The Way of Union.

As it states in Book Three, "The man in this stage of spiritual perfection finds his thoughts turning more frequently and more easily to God. He is constantly aware of God's nearness. His predominant desire in all his activities, is to give more of himself to God, by whatever form of self-sacrifice his daily obligations will permit." (365)

It is during this stage that one experiences a supernatural friendship with God and among all of life's trials and difficulties, Christ's generous followers experience peace and joy, a foretaste of Heaven.

The following is an excerpt from Part One, Striving for Closer Union, Chapter 3, Intimacy with God:
[Christ] MY CHILD, learn to converse with Me as a child talks with its mother. Let there be no barriers between you and Me. Why should you find it easier to talk to human beings than to Me? I know you better than anyone else.
Nowhere will you find the understanding, sympathy, and appreciation which I have. Nobody else is as interested in you as I am. I love you infinitely more than anyone else does.
You are never alone. I am always with you, ready to share your burdens and solve your problems. I walk with you at every step. No human being is capable of giving you the perfect friendship which I offer you. (371) 

The Ideal Standard, Jesus Christ

What the contents of My Daily Bread point to is the ideal standard, Jesus Christ. It is the only standard with which we should measure how we are living our lives and how to better live it; the one standard alone that will stand the test on judgement day.

Jesus gave us His example and teachings to follow; all that remains is for each individual to decide for Christ and follow His example. It doesn't matter how successful you are, because Jesus does not look at this, but rather, He looks at how much effort you put forth: did you give Jesus your honest daily effort to follow Him?

My Daily Bread, details how to do just that, encouraging each follower to, as it notes at the How to Use This Book page, "dream of becoming a better person." (VI)

Who amongst us does not want to become a better person? We can become that better person if we spend time listening to His precious words of wisdom, peace, and joy.

Jesus speaks to us far more often than we listen; He is much closer to us than we realize. We would go far in self-perfection if we, "...[P]laced ourselves at His feet for a few minutes each day, and heard Him tell us how to improve our daily lives." (VI)

Those who sincerely endeavour to remain at His feet each day will experience a time of divine intimacy. As in notes in the book, "Often, between the lines, He will give you a message which is meant for you alone. This will be the grace of that chapter." (VI)

It is through God's grace that we will be shown how to live a better life each day, and be given the strength and the resolve to do so. If we use these graces well, God will grant us even greater ones. Daily we will become more like Christ and less like our old self.

May many strive to follow the ideal standard and live the Spiritual Life.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hungary's New NGO Law: Greater Transparency Requirements For Foreign-Funded NGOs

A photo of Hungary's parliament
Hungarian parliament. Photo: About Hungary Blog/Prominent US and European think tanks taken in by the “NGO crackdown” ruse

On June 13, 2017, Hungary's parliament passed a new law requiring greater transparency of foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The new legislation corrected a loophole in Hungarian law that previously allowed such civic organizations to operate without disclosing where and from whom their funds came from. 

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz party he leads, have been determined to close this loophole in order to prevent NGOs from being used as Trojan horses to influence Hungary's domestic politics. The announcement to close the loophole was made in February and by April 2, the draft legislation was made available. 

The announcement sparked open and public debate, including criticism from Brussels, left-leaning mainstream media news web sites, several prominent European and American think tanks, and even Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland; criticism that has been for the most part, untruthful and factually incorrect.

With this new law in place all NGOs that qualify as being funded from abroad, must not only report it within fifteen days of receiving foreign funds, but state it as such on their web sites and publications. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in the notification by a prosecutor to do so within thirty days, as well as the possibility of a fine and suspension.

I applaud Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for this new law; it is simply a matter of common sense that when NGOs are funded by foreign interests—especially those that engage in political activity that have neither the democratic mandate do so; nor, do they provide any accountability to the citizenry—they should be transparent about that, as Hungarians have the right to know!

The failed "NGO Crackdown" ruse

In mid-March, opposition to the proposed new NGO legislation came in the form of an open letter representing several prominent US and European think tanks. It was entitled, No to NGO crackdown in Hungary, and "fittingly" published at the domain,

In essence, what the letter attempted to do was paint a false picture of the new law's transparency requirements, primarily through the use of selected historical references, bombastic language, and false claims about the Hungarian government.

Case in point, the letter states that the Hungarian government's intention is to root out NGOs that receive funding from George Soros. Although Prime Minister Orbán and the Hungarian government are well aware of the fact that Soros is in the "NGO business" and has an agenda for Hungary, the new law is aimed at all foreign-funded civic organizations.

The letter also stated that NGOs are an organic part of society and that their role does not depend on whether the government of the moment agrees with them. The letter lacks any specificity with respect to any civic organization, but instead refers to NGOs, foundations, and think tanks as a general grouping.

The signatories also neglected to mention those civic organizations that receive foreign-funding and engage in political activity; civic organizations whose financial support, direction, and agendas comes from well known globalists and billionaires, such as George Soros.

The arrogance and audacity of the signatories comes shining through when they suggest that Hungary should be proud of the "rich landscape of organizations of civil society," and how they ought to be careful not to "undo the extraordinary progress" that Hungary has seen since the fall of communism. Orbán and the Hungarian people don't need anyone to tell them about the struggles of living within a communist system, the fight for freedom and independence, and what a country needs to do to consistently and successfully move forward. The Hungarian people have admirably demonstrated this for centuries: during the early 1700s (Rákóczi’s War of Independence), the 1848 War of Independence, the Hungarian uprising of 1956and in recent years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who first took office in 2010.

Hungary has gone on the offensive and responded to all the criticism with the truth and the facts, and in the process, spotlighted what Hungarian government spokesman, Zoltan Kovács referred to as a, "NGO crackdown ruse." In a blog post dated March 21, 2017, Kovács—follow him on Twitter and his blog posts atAbout Hungary Blogfor daily updates on Hungary—wrote a thorough response to the letter, Prominent US and European think tanks taken in by the “NGO crackdown” ruse.

Kovács included many valid points that is sure to resonate with those that value the truth, factual information, and common-sense, as well as those who have come to appreciate the consistent progress that Hungary has made in the past seven years.

In addition to stressing how Hungary's draft legislation was about greater transparency, and the result of a normal concern of any government who identifies foreign-funded NGOs involved in political activities that could be construed as attempts to undermine the government and democracy as a whole, what most stands out about his blog post was how he debunked the notion that Hungary's transparency requirement is a "NGO crackdown."

Kovács first highlighted the signatories' specific wording: "NGO crackdown." It sounds serious, but the fact is, that is not what happened in Hungary. He elaborated with the following statement:
The NGO legislation that’s currently under consideration calls for greater transparency, particularly transparency of groups operating with international funding, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó pointed out in his statement. Civic groups remain an essential part of every democratic society, but when they’re carrying out activities funded by a foreign interest, they should be transparent about that.
This is also the firm position of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who Kovács quoted, " 'Hungarian citizens must be given the right to know about all public actors, who they are and who pays them. We have the right to know,' said Prime Minister Orbán. 'So we want transparency.' "

Hungary is not alone in its concerns about foreign interests meddling in its domestic politics. As Kovács noted, in March a group of US senators wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, asking him to investigate claims that American tax-payer money is being used to back left-wing, globalist-billionaire George Soros's overseas agenda for sovereign nations: specifically the attempts to affect certain political outcomes.

Kovács pointed out that there have been numerous examples of foreign meddling in Hungary. He cited the example of a Hungarian parliamentary opposition figure who received assistance from the Washington-based Center for American Progress, which as Kovács wrote is, "...[A] group founded by John Pedesta and itself a Soros grantee."

Further to this, Kovács highlighted how the European edition of POLITICO described Soro's agenda as an "anti-Orbán agenda," due to Hungary's response to the migrant crisis with its tight border security.

Hungary's entire border security measures, including the 3,000 border-hunters, has successfully halted the Balkan migrant route, putting further pressure on other migrant options, most notably the Italian-North African route. It has drawn further attention to how it is all connected to Soros's agenda for Europe; an agenda that you can read about in detail from Kovács's recent blog postWondering what PM Orbán meant with that reference to the Soros plan? Here it is

Kovács also mentioned that some of the most vocal critics against Hungary's border security measures and policies come from NGOs funded by George Soros.

The concluding point that completes the debunking of the "NGO crackdown ruse" is the simple fact that Hungary's new legislation, in comparison to the American equivalent—Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)—is no where near as strict. To illustrate this point, Kovács quoted FARA, and then made it crystal clear that the signatories clearly were not in possession of the facts and probably just signed the letter without knowing the truth about Hungary's new legislation:
The United State [sic] has a federal law called the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. It says that people and organizations that are acting 'at the order, request, or under the direction or control' of a foreign government or organizations or persons outside the country must report their relationship with the foreign power. The report must disclose the related activities and finances. FARA is strict.
The new NGO regulations under consideration in Hungary are less strict than those of FARA.
If I were one of those asked to sign the letter and to lend my name to the cause, I would have wanted to know all of the above. I suspect that many did not know. They just signed it without checking.
They got taken in by the “NGO crackdown” ruse.

Putting the opposition to the new NGO law into perspective

In Hungary there are over 62,000 civic organizations in a country whose population is less than ten-million; the overwhelming majority of NGOs in Hungary have no objections to the new law.

Like in any other country, NGOs play an important role in Hungary's democracy, but a distinction must be made between grassroots and internationally funded NGOs. The former is typically made up of volunteers seeking to better their neighbourhood, town/city, province or state, and country as a whole, while the latter is quite a different situation. Foreign-funded NGOs are in essence a Trojan horse made up of personnel that refer to themselves as "civilians," but in fact, are actually are activists, and usually paid activists, whose goal is to propagate international interests, by directly interfering in the domestic politics of Hungary.

It is not surprising that civic organizations such as the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Helsinki Committee, and Amnesty International are so opposed to this new NGO law; all of whom have openly declared their intention to disobey it. It only begs the question, what are they hiding?

Objections from international NGOs have been based on the claim that Hungarian civil law discriminates and cannot be compared to the NGO legislation in other democracies. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As Zoltan Kovács pointed out in his blog post, Why do these NGOs resist transparency, such claims by the international NGOs do not connect to reality: German, Israeli and some aspects of American law (FARA) on foreign-funded NGOs are stricter than their Hungarian counterpart. He went on to further point out that in Austria, NGOs engaging in lobbying activity, such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace, have to register as lobbyists.

Further in the blog post, Kovács asks the reader, "What do these protesting organizations have in common?" In addition to being pro-migrant NGOs, who are adamantly opposed to Hungary's border security measures, they also have a shared agenda to bring about a moral disorder in Hungary; namely, the legalization of drug use and through the ideology of gender mainstreaming.

What I found particularly noteworthy was the candid manner in which Kovács spotlighted what these NGOs are all about, "Let’s be honest, the organizations raising their voices against the new NGO Act are not grassroots initiatives. They are vehicles to advance the agenda of foreign political interests. These organizations don’t stand on their own. They depend for their livelihood on funding from Soros sources."

Further to this, Kovács also pointed out that the objections of the NGOs have not been based on facts, but rather, an ideological opposition with no legal basis. Here is what he stated:
'The NGO Act is being criticized exclusively by the same organizations – with funding from George Soros – that are opposing the government in relation to migration,' said Deputy Justice Minister Pál Völner recently. Völner also pointed out that no correspondence has been received from the complaining organizations explaining any concrete legal problems that they claim exist in the new legislation, reinforcing the impression that theirs is an ideological opposition not based on real, legal issues.
It was interesting to read that all this opposition came about after the heir to the Open Society empire, Alexander Soros, met with representatives of NGOs.

A legitimate aim of ensuring transparency of civic organizations

I agree with most of the findings of the Venice Commission, who at the request of Hungary, reviewed the draft legislation, provided an opinion, and approved it as pursuing a, "...[P]rima facie legitimate aim and can be considered 'necessary in a democratic society in the interest of national security and public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

I particularly liked the commission's additional mention of another important point regarding transparency: how it may contribute to the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The thrust of the commission's findings can be read in Kovács's blog post, Case Closed: Venice Commission says Hungary’s draft NGO law pursues ‘legitimate aim of ensuring transparency’.

In that post Kovács includes a few key points worth mentioning. The first is how he accurately illustrated—through a comparison of legislation with other countries—that Hungary's legislation is straightforward and clearly in line with the Venice Commission's finding of it being a legitimate aim. Here is what he wrote about this first point:
The Hungarian draft law, unlike the one in the United States, proposed relatively lighter reporting requirements and, contrary to the Israeli and Russian laws, avoids labeling foreign-funded NGOs as “agents”. Unlike a proposal in the European Parliament, it does not consider taking away public funding from these NGOs. Hungary’s draft law says that NGOs that receive funding from outside of Europe that exceeds a certain level must publicly declare that they receive funding from abroad in their materials and the registry. That’s pretty straightforward and clearly in line with what the Venice Commission says is a “legitimate aim”.
Of the commission's findings, there was one in particular that I did not agree with; that is, the point that Hungary's NGO law could have a "stigmatizing effect on those NGOs receiving foreign funding." Hungary had disagreed with the commission on this point. As Kovács noted, the NGO legislation, "...[D]oes not apply the term foreign 'agents' to these groups and the Commission’s concern would seem to be a contradiction to the opinion’s fundamental finding that 'it is legitimate, in order to secure transparency, to publicly disclose the identity of the [NGOs’] main sponsors.' "

Lastly, Kovács drew further attention to the fact all those who, "sounded off alarm bells," have done so without just cause, because the Venice Commision's opinion invalidates any claim that Hungary was carrying out a "NGO crackdown." To reiterate how legitimate Hungary's NGO law is, Kovács further referred to the the commission's opinion:
...the Commission said, the draft law pursues a legitimate aim of improving transparency of NGOs. What’s more, it is legitimate for a state to monitor the main sponsors of NGOs and legitimate to publicly disclose the identity of the main sponsors. It’s also not only legitimate but 'necessary in a democratic society' to require transparency of NGOs receiving funding from abroad in order to prevent them from being misused for foreign political goals.
Hungary's new NGO law is but one, in a long list of positive developments under the leadership of Viktor Orbán; a leadership that has proven itself over and over for seven straight years.

Zoltan Kovacs's blog post on North American criticism of the new NGO law. Photo: About Hungary Blog/Guess who else is concerned about foreign funding of NGOs

With respect to Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland's tweet on the day the new Hungarian NGO law took effect—calling it a “disappointing outcome”—it reflects badly on Canada. I totally disagree with her tweet.

If Freeland truly "values transparency & civil society as key facets of healthy democratic societies,” then she should retract her comment and apologize to Hungary.

What Freeland and many others fail to realize is that Hungary has got it right: the Hungarian model is working and it shows!

"Case closed."