Pope Francis began his visit to Central Europe on Sunday September 12 with Hungary. On the occasion of the Sunday prayer of the Angelus, at the closing of the International Eucharistic Congress, the Pope called on the Hungarians to be “Open” to all, in a veiled allusion to the anti-immigrant policy of the sovereignist Prime Minister, Viktor Orban.
In front of some 75,000 people, including the Prime Minister, of Calvinist origins but whose wife is Catholic, François declared from his popemobile in front of a huge crowd who had just cheered him:
“Religious sentiment is the lifeblood of this nation so attached to its roots. (…) The cross, planted in the ground, in addition to inviting us to take root well, raises and extends its arms towards all. (…) My wish is that you will be like this: grounded and open, rooted and respectful. “
The reception of refugees of all religions, knocking on the doors of richer countries fleeing wars or economic misery, has been the subject of incessant appeals from the Argentine Pope, sometimes earning him incomprehension in the ranks of Catholics. In the city, controlled by the opposition, posters wish ” welcome “ to François, praising his calls for solidarity and tolerance towards minorities.
Subjects that anger
Before this Mass, the Pope had an interview with Viktor Orban. The meeting, lasting about forty minutes, was described as “Cordial” by the Vatican. On the images broadcast by the official Vatican channel, the Sovereign Pontiff appeared smiling, while Mr. Orban seemed slightly more reserved.
The president, Janos Ader, was also present, placed opposite the Pope in a huge room of the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as two of the most senior officials of the Roman Curia. Among the themes mentioned, “Protection of the environment and the family”, added the official Vatican channel.
🇭🇺 #PapeBudapest – This morning @Pontifex_fr met privately the President of the Republic of #Hongrie Já… https://t.co/Ap1WjYqDM6
“I asked the Pope not to let the Christians of Hungary perish”Mr. Orban reported on his Facebook account, where he also posted a photo of his handshake with the leader of the Catholics, whose number stands at 1.3 billion.
Warning against anti-Semitism
The Pope also met the bishops, then representatives of various Christian denominations and the Jewish community, the largest in Central Europe with around 100,000 members according to estimates.
On this occasion, he mentioned “The threat of anti-Semitism which still circulates in Europe and elsewhere”, considering that it was“A wick that [devait] to be extinguished ”. “The best way to defuse it is to work together in a positive way, it is to promote fraternity”, added the Pope, a great defender of interreligious dialogue.
This 34e 84-year-old Pope Francis’ international trip comes about two months after colon surgery, which required general anesthesia and ten days of convalescence in hospital. He apologized for remaining seated during his meeting with religious communities. Corn “I’m not 15 anymore”, he joked.