The Hungarian Catholic Church and Care for the Needy

At the time of the last census in 2011, a total of 490,578 people, equal to 4.9% of the population, or one in every twenty Hungarians, identified themselves as suffering from some form of disability. A priority target group of the Church’s charity service is people with disabilities and disadvantaged workers. For these people, independent or supported living, solving the tasks of everyday life, employment that provides a living, and returning to the primary labor market are the greatest challenges. 

Both young and old people with disabilities live and work in numerous institutions maintained or supported by the Church. This is a very important undertaking for the Church, as supporting people with disabilities is a life-long process that is often a serious burden on their parents and families.

On May 3, 2007, the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference established KOSZISZ, short for the Kolping Organization for the Maintenance of Education and Social Institutions, which performs both public education and vocational activities and also operates service providers in 13 locations and specialist care institutions in 4 locations. Of these, the work being done at the Blessed László Batthyány-Strattmann Catholic Social Institution, Kindergarten, Primary School, and Special Children’s Home for the Blind, as a complex institution located in Budapest, is especially important.

The Saint Cristopher House of Charity run by the Székesfehérvár Diocese is a day-time institution offering assistance to 25 people with multiple disabilities.

The Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta has run a live-in institution in the Pest County town of Páty since 1995. The institution currently operates a 70-bed retirement home and a home for 24 people with intellectual disabilities that offers one and two-bed rooms as well as standalone apartments. The Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta also operates a home for people with disabilities in Göd. This institution, christened the House of Providence, cares for approximately two hundred disabled young people and adults.

The Saint Elizabeth House, maintained by the Catholic Caritas service, was established in 1986 in a former parish building in Ipolytölgyes and currently gives home to 150 residents. Its inhabitants have severe mental disabilities or are multiply disabled. The care center aims to provide everyone with quality personal care, a family approach, attention to individual needs, motivation for individual activity, and improvements to quality of life.

Monastic orders also support people with disabilities. The Piarist Order operates the Viewpoint Centre with the aim of helping children and young people with disabilities or special needs to plan their careers, standing by them and accompanying them in the important steps of integrating into the labor market. The Franciscan order has established an Autistic Care Centre in Gyöngyös, a complex institution for autistic children.