Visit to Hungary for Pope Francis for his three-day apostolic journey. The pontiff returns to the country after his visit on 12 September 2021 in which he celebrated the final mass of the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest before continuing on to Slovakia. This is the forty-first apostolic visit of the pontificate and the second this year after the ones to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Bergoglio is the second Pope to travel to Hungary, a country also visited twice by John Paul II in 1991 and 1996.
The visit and the meetings
Pope Francis arrived in Hungary just before 10am at Budapest International Airport and was greeted by Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen. Then he went to the Sandor Palace, in the Buda Castle district, the official residence of the President of the Republic of Hungary. Here, in the welcoming ceremony that took place in the square in front of the Palace, the pope was welcomed by the President of the Republic Katalin Novak, in a black dress. The anthems were performed, with the military picket of honor and the presentation of the delegations. After the conversation with the president, the pope also met with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The meeting with the authorities, civil society and the diplomatic corps took place in the former Carmelite Monastery, to whom the Pope delivered the first of six speeches scheduled during the three-day visit, all in Italian. In the afternoon, at 5 pm, the meeting with the bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians and pastoral workers is scheduled in the Co-Cathedral of Santo Stefano.
“Nationalisms roar and judgments are exaggerated”
“In the post-war period Europe represented, together with the United Nations, the great hope, in the common goal that a closer link between nations would prevent further conflicts. Unfortunately this was not the case”, said Pope Francis speaking to the Hungarian authorities . “In the world we live in, however, the passion for community politics and for multilateralism seems like a nice memory of the past: it seems to be witnessing the sad sunset of the choral dream of peace, while the soloists of war are making room”. In general, according to the pope, “the enthusiasm for building a peaceful and stable community of nations seems to have disintegrated, while areas are marked, differences are marked, nationalisms roar again and judgments and tones are exaggerated towards of the others”.
“Where are the creative peace efforts for Ukraine?”
“In this historical phase there are many dangers today, many; but, I wonder, also thinking of the tormented Ukraine, where are the creative efforts for peace? Where are they?”, said the Pope in his speech, also referring to the Declaration of Robert Schuman of 9 May 1950 on the “‘contribution that an organized and vital Europe can make to civilization is indispensable for the maintenance of peaceful relations, since – memorable words! – ‘world peace can only be safeguarded with creative efforts, proportional to the dangers that threaten it”.
“No to gender culture, abortion is a tragic defeat”
In his speech, Pope Francis spoke of “the nefarious path of ideological colonizations, which eliminate differences, as in the case of the so-called gender culture, which precisely eliminates differences or puts reductive concepts of freedom before the reality of life, for example by boasting how wins a senseless right to an abortion, which is always a tragic defeat”. According to the pontiff, on the other hand, it is “nice to build a Europe centered on the person and on peoples, where there are effective policies for the birth rate and the family, carefully pursued in this country, where different nations are a family in which growth is safeguarded and the singularity of each”.
“I pray for Europe to be united and supportive”
“I come as a pilgrim and a friend to Hungary, a country rich in history and culture; from Budapest, the city of bridges and saints, I think of all of Europe and I pray that, united and in solidarity, it may also be a house of peace and prophecy in our times welcome”, Pope Francis wrote and signed in his own hand in the honor book of the Sandor Presidential Palace.
Before leaving, greetings to the clochards
Before leaving Casa Santa Marta for Fiumicino Airport, the pope received the greetings of fifteen homeless people who live near St. Peter’s and who were accompanied by the prefect of the Dicastery for Charity, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski. Arriving by car at the Leonardo da Vinci just before 8, the pontiff was escorted by Vatican security and the police. After greeting those present, he climbed on foot, supporting himself with a walking stick on an electric lift made available by Adr which took him to the aircraft entrance door. Waiting for him, before boarding, was the crew wearing, for the first time on a papal flight, the new Ita Airways uniforms.
The telegram to Mattarella: “Building bridges between peoples”
“At a time when I am about to leave the soil of Italy to make an apostolic journey to Hungary – wrote Pope Francis in a telegram addressed to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella -, moved by the desire to meet brothers in the faith and bear witness to the he importance of building bridges between peoples, I address my cordial greeting to you, Mr President, and to all Italians, which I accompany with fervent prayers for the good of the nation”.
“Insinuations about Wojtyla? Stupid”
“Some stupid thing they did.” With these words the pope defined the insinuations about John Paul II spread in recent days in relation to the case of Emanuela Orlandi. During his greetings to journalists on the flight to Budapest, the pontiff replied to a Polish correspondent who thanked him for defending Pope Wojtyla.