Francis repeatedly calls for help for refugees. Hungary, on the other hand, has an anti-migration policy. According to the Vatican, the conversation was about the role of the Church in Hungary and environmental protection. Francis had recently said in a radio interview that he did not know whether a meeting with Orban would even be possible. Such encounters are actually common on trips abroad by the head of the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, the Pope in Hungary condemned anti-Semitism. This is still smoldering in Europe, said the head of the Catholic Church on Sunday in Budapest at a meeting with representatives of the Jewish community. “It’s a fuse that needs to be extinguished.” The best way to neutralize them is to work together positively and promote fraternity. Both Hebrew and Christian cultures need to know that all cultures interact, said a representative from the Jewish community. In the past few decades, Jews and Christians have done a lot to tear down the walls that separated them.
Francis spends only a few hours in Hungary before traveling on to Slovakia. He’ll be there until Wednesday. The Pope landed on his 34th international trip on Sunday morning around 7.45 a.m. in the Hungarian capital. The occasion for Francis’ visit is the closing mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, which is taking place in Budapest. Representatives of the Catholic Church have come together from all parts of the world.
The congress was actually planned last year, but the organizers had postponed it because of the corona pandemic. Thousands of people are expected to attend the fair on the famous Heroes’ Square. In advance, the right-wing conservative government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban relaxed the corona rules, so that the participants do not need proof of a vaccination against or a recovery from Covid-19.
It is rare for a Pope to celebrate the closing mass of a Eucharistic Congress. The aim of these international meetings is to promote the worship of the Eucharist among the faithful. It is a core element in the Christian faith and goes back to Jesus’ last supper, in which, according to tradition, he gave his disciples bread and wine with the words: This is my body, this is my blood. In a figurative sense, the celebration of the Eucharist in divine service is also understood as the time that the faithful take for God.