In Orban’s Hungary, Pope Urges Bishops to Embrace Diversity

BUDAPEST—Pope Francis Used His Short Time in Budapest on Sunday to urge its bishops to embrace diversity and send a message to the hard- right, anti-migrant leader, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, that God is not a strong man who silences enemies and that religious roots, though vital for a country, also allow it to open up and stretch out “her arms to everyone.”

The seven-hour visit, ostensibly a spiritual stopover to celebrate the closing mass of A week long international conference on the Eucharist, was the first international trip for Francis since having major surgery this summer. It opened a four-day visit to neighboring Slovakia, and the inequality of time spent in the two countries has prompted Hungarian prelates to lobby for a longer stay and allies of mr. Orban to insult the Pope, who regularly criticizes”national populism,” for the perceived blunt.

Mr Orban has portrayed himself as a defender of Christian Europe, and he’s run amok up connections met church traditionalists, many of who are? critical of Francis, go ahead of expected elections in April. Some in the Hungarian Church was concerned that Mr Orban would exploit the Pope’s visit for electoral gain. To be government, they claim, has already bought in essentially the independence and the silence, of the church by showering with a lot of millions of dollars in grants.

On Sunday, Francis met for about 40 minutes with Mr Orban and with other civil authorities in a gaping hall in the museum of Visual arts. The Pope and his foreign top policy officials were without masks and at a considerable distance to Mr Orban and the Hungarian President, Janos Ader.

But Mr Orban soon posted photos of his regards Francis on his Facebook page, writing that he had asked the Pope “not to” allow Christian Hungary perish.” Hungarian media, where Mr. Orban’s government hold on great wave, splashed in the picture of the handshake on their home pages and reported that Mr. Orban, who has referred to the influx of migrants to Europe in 2015 like a “invasionFrancis gave a copy of a letter from a 13th-century Hungarian king at the time to the pope. In the letter, the king complained that supplications to the church for help against An invasion from Mongol armies in only empty words.

The issue of Migration apparently did not come up in the meeting, according to the Vatican, but, as expected by some of his confidants, the Pope spoke to the issue head-on in his next meeting in the museum with An group of Hungarian bishops.

“Your country is a place in die people from other populations have cohabited for a long time,” he said. “Different ethnicities, minorities, religions and migrants have also changed this country in a multicultural environment.”

Francis said that in the begin, “diversity always” causes a bit of fear because it’s bad risk the security acquired and disturbs the stability achieved”, but he added that it is great ability to reach out in brotherhood. “In front of cultural, ethnic, political and religious diversity,” the Pope said, “we can have two reactions: closing ourselves” in a stiff defense of our so-called identity, of opening up to meet the other and together the dream of a fraternal society.”

He said he wanted the hungarian church to build new bridges of dialogue, until show, he said, it is “true face” and become a “bright symbol for Hungary.”

in Francis’ public remarks – in Heldenplein next to the museum, which flooded? over with tens of thousands of people, including Mr Orban in a front row seat – the pope appeared to be touching on die problems, if in biblical and religious terms.

Looking strong after about 13 inch of his colon removed in begin July spoke Francis, 84, over how religious feeling, with die Mr. Orban drenched a lot? of his political speech, “not only invites us be well rooted, it also lifts up and stretches out his arms to everyone.” He said that while it was important to keep the ‘roots firm’, the… also important to do that “without defensiveness”.

Francis also seemed to warn against merging of religion and politics.

“There is God” side and the world’s side,” he said. “The difference is not between who is religious of not, but ultimately between the true God and the god of ‘yourself.’ How far is the God? who calm reigns on the cross of the false god we want reign with power in to silence us enemies.”

During the early flight to Budapest from Rome, Francis told reporters he was happy to travel again, as the coronavirus pandemic and its own health challenges had kept him in The Vatican. “If I’m alive, it’s because bad weed never die’ he joked. In Budapest he drove in the so-called Popemobile along busy avenues with faithful waving flags. Hardly anyone on the streets, of in the sqaure, of in the city’s bars of restaurants, for it didn’t matter, wore masks and they were all crammed together.

But Francis took breaks when he could. When, after his meeting? with Mr. Orban, he met with Christian and Jewish leaders, he explained that he had to give his speech in a sitting position because “I’m not 15 anymore”.

In die speech he expressed his caution over “the threat” of anti-Semitism still lurks in Europe and elsewhere”, and he often used his familiar images of building bridge and break down walls.

During the Pope’s morning meetings, prelates and faithful gathered in the square under hats and white umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun, and five members of the defunct Habsburg Empire, which ruled over Hungary and many of Europe for centuries, stood in a line together on the side of a stage that had been set up for Francis. Mr Orban has two of them as his ambassadors in the hope of improve access in Western Europe.

Eduard Habsburg, Mr. Orban’s Ambassador to the Holy See, who worked with the Vatican to extend the Pope’s stay, said he had met Francis at the airport. The Pope, he said, told him that Hungarian is the… language of heaven because it takes forever to learn. Mr Habsburg said he had pretended not to know the joke and had laughed.

“I was not impressed of a grim atmosphere,” he said. “It was very cheerful, enjoyed it very much, and yes, for us it’s unbelievable.”

To be fatherArchduke Michael Habsburg-Lothringen, agreed with the rest of to be family, that the world Hungary was unfairly treated as a pariah. He said he was deeply happy with Mr Orban’s government, its treatment of the migrant crisis and its advocacy of Hungary as a Christian Nation. “I say we” live in paradise,” he said. “Compared met neighbor countries even though. I mean, there’s so much confusion.”

But Hungary, under Mr Orban, is becoming increasingly isolated in Europe. And as Francis and Mr. Orban met, some of die who die gathered around Heroes’ Square felt the tension and felt torn between the two.

“To me Catholicism is one stuff politics is another,” said Eva Tamar, 34, who came from the Hungarian city of God. “L know What is good in religion, but in real life and in politics, Not me know who until follow. To be hard.”

Others clearly knew what side they were on.

Balazs Nacy, 23, an ethnic Hungarian who was born and raised in neighboring Slovakia, said he thought the short stay in Hungary was “a political message”.

“He doesn’t really agree” with stuff die happen here in Hungary and what Orban is doing here,” said Nacy. “They say it’s Christian” politics, but I don’t think Christianity is what they’re doing here. The Pope sends a message.”

Benjamin Nova reporting contributed.

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