By Richard Shaw Bishops must speak out for life whether the moment is "opportune or inopportune", Pope John Paul II told the Hungarian hierarchy last week.
"You must intervene where you see you must defend God and man," the Pope told the bishops during their ad limina visit to Rome. "Let us open our doors to all those who are seeking God. Whoever asks for the truth of the Church has the right to hope that the word of God will be expressed and transmitted authentically and integrally."
The pontiff said that postcommunist eastern Europe needed to hear the bishops' voice on issues such as abortion.
"The abortion statistics published over the last decades in your country are alarming", he said. "In these tragic times, the Church assumes an important function, Christians must increasingly become what they are called to be: salt of the earth and light of the world.
"In this Way, the quest for truth is protected from the dangers of an indeterminate, irrational, syncretist religiosity, and the living Church of God is revealed as it is, the column and support of truth," he said.
Hungary has 6.5 million baptised Catholics.