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Friday, March 31, 2023

Pope’s visit of Hungary: the key is the visit, not its duration

By: V4 Agency

While the leftist media is trying to interpret the length of the Pope’s visit to Budapest as a political message, the truth is that the head of the Catholic Church rarely participates in the closing mass of a Eucharistic Congress, according to the Hungarian Mandiner newspaper.

Leftist and liberal press outlets believed that the length of the Pope’s visit (the pontiff spent approximately 7 hours in the Hungarian capital) was a message, writes a senior journalist at the Mandiner newspaper. Gergely Vagvolgyi also recalled that while the Pope had pointed out in many of his earlier statements that he did not come for a state visit, but to celebrate the so-called statio orbis, the closing mass of the Eucharistic Congress, it is worth keeping in mind that it’s not so much the length of his stay, but rather the fact of his visit itself that conveyed an important message.

Mandiner also pointed out that the pontiff’s attendance at a Eucharistic Congress (usually organised every four years) is not something to be taken for granted. On the contrary, it is somewhat exceptional when the Pope shows up at such an event, instead of sending a papal delegate.

For example, out of the last five Eucharistic Congresses, only one, the most recent in Budapest, was attended by the Pope.

During Pope Francis’s papacy, the Budapest event was the second Eucharistic Congress. Five years ago, the Philippines welcomed all the Catholic believers of the world, but a pastoral visit was not on the agenda. During the papacy of Benedict XVI, two congresses were held (in Quebec and in Dublin), and the now emeritus Pope followed both of them from the Vatican. He sent a pre-recorded video message to Dublin, which was played during the closing event.

Before Pope Benedict, Saint John Paul II held these events in particularly high esteem, but he could not attend all of them. We have to go back more than twenty years in time to find the last papal visit to a Eucharistic Congress. The event took place in the jubilee year 2000 in the city of Rome, attended of course by the one of the most popular Popes in history.

The revered pontiff was often described as “the travelling Pope” with a reason, but even before his papacy, participation by the head of the Catholic Church in a Eucharistic Congress was more of a rarity than an obvious occurence.


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