By Lionel Baland
The Pope visited Hungary on Sunday, September 12, 2021, to celebrate Mass on the occasion of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress on Heroes’ Square in Budapest, where statues of the country’s most important historical figures stand. Previously, he had met with the Hungarian Christian Democratic Prime Minister.
The ideological exchange took place for forty minutes behind closed doors in the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts on the edge of Heroes’ Square, in the presence of Hungarian President Janos Ader and two high-ranking officials of the Roman Curia.
After the meeting, Viktor Orbán posted a photo of the meeting on Facebook, saying he had asked the pope “not to let Christian Hungary perish.”
According to media commentators, the meeting was a diplomatic affront to a regularly elected prime minister, as the pope denied him the status of a state visit, contrary to the advice of the Vatican’s diplomatic services. One Hungarian TV commentator even said: “He wants to humiliate Hungary!”
In the Official Communiqué of the Pope, the “hot irons” are not mentioned, but it only says that the interlocutors have spoken, among other things, about the protection of the environment and the family.
While the Christian leader seemed relaxed, the Hungarian head of government was far less relaxed, as he has a great interest in retaining his electorate. In fact, the opposition wants to act as a unit in the 2022 elections. Liberal, socialist, environmental and formerly ultra-nationalist political groups have joined forces to try to overthrow the current government.
Both Hungary and Poland are under attack from Brussels, which wants to punish them financially for their migration policies and stance on LGBTQIA+ issues, while the EU seeks to exercise more control over the Polish judiciary and the Magyar media landscape. Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga (Fidesz) said shortly before the Pope’s visit that her country would exhaust all legal means to intervene on the side of Poland in the dispute with the EU.
Viktor Orbán, who received Serbian patriotic Prime Minister Ana Brnabić (SNS) shortly before Francis’ visit, told the public after a joint meeting of the governments of both countries in Budapest that Hungary and Serbia – a non-EU member – will defend Europe’s borders against migration, even if no RECOGNITION by the EU is expected.
Francis flew to Slovakia in the early afternoon, where he will be visiting for three days.
This entry was first published on BOULEVARD VOLTAIRE, our partner in EUROPEAN MEDIA COOPERATION.