- 2 May 2023 7:16 AM
- Hungary Matters
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and House Speaker László Kövér attended. The pontiff arrived in a Fiat 500X accompanied by three hussars of the count Ferenc Nádasdy Hussar Regiment. The Pontifical Anthem and the National Anthem of Hungary were played, and an equestrian parade was held.
President Novák and Pope Francis then introduced the members of their delegations to each other.
The members of the Hungarian delegation are Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, House Speaker László Kövér, Constitutional Court head Tamás Sulyok, Supreme Court head András Varga Zs., Public Prosecutor Péter Polt, Deputy PM Zsolt Semjén, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, Culture and Innovation Minister János Csák, Regional Development Minister Tibor Navracsics and Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen, Hungary’s Ambassador to the Holy See.
The papal delegation includes Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s chief diplomat, Péter Erdő, the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Bishop András Veres, the head of the Conference of Hungarian Catholic Bishops, and Greek Catholic Metropolitan Fülöp Kocsis, among others.
After the introductions, Francis and Novák proceeded into Sándor Palace where he wrote an entry in the guest book, and Novák presented him with his gifts.
In the Carmelite Monastery housing the Prime Minister’s Office, the pope met representatives of the state, civilian life and the diplomatic corps.
Following his meeting with President Novák, Pope Francis briefly greeted young people, and this was posted on the President’s official social media page. The video shows the Holy Father and the head of state together, with the pontiff saying in Spanish: “I greet young people!”
Pope Francis Laments 'Soloists of War'
Pope Francis in a speech in Budapest on Friday lamented how "we must watch as the choir singing the dream of peace is eclipsed by the soloists of war pressing forward."
Meeting Hungarian politicians, diplomats and other dignitaries in the Prime Minister’s Office as part of his apostolic visit to Hungary, the pope said that peace was not achieved “by following strategic interests but by pursuing policies focusing on everyone’s interests, people, the poor and the future.”
Citing EU founder Robert Schumann, Francis said: “World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.”
Referring to Ukraine, Francis said the present era posed many dangers, “but where are the creative efforts safeguarding peace?” International politics is “more about inciting antagonism rather than finding solutions … regressing into a kind of warlike infantilism”, the pope said.
Referring to Europe’s role, he said it should “summon the lost, embrace peoples, and consider nobody as an eternal enemy.” Pointing to the founding fathers of the community, he said they had been able to cast their glance “across national borders and over immediate needs … and build unity rather than deepening divisions”.
Pope Francis on European Unity
Europe, a melting pot of 27 nations, needs harmony and unity that does not crush the individual parts that fit well into the whole, Pope Francis said in a speech delivered in Budapest.
He quoted Hungary’s Fundamental Law: “We hold that individual freedom can only be complete in cooperation with others … We believe that our national culture is a rich contribution to the diversity of European unity.”
“I am thinking of a Europe that does not become hostage to its parts and a victim of self-aggrandising populism, but is also not … a representative of an abstract supra-nationality that ignores the life of its people.”
This “small-minded path of ideological colonialism” erases differences, such as so-called gender culture, or puts narrow concepts of freedom before the reality of life, boasting as an achievement, for example, the right to abortion, the pope said. Europe needs to be humane and person-centred, with effective policies for the family and birth, the pontiff said, praising Hungary’s “carefully tended” family policy.
Referring to Budapest’s landmark Chain Bridge as an illustration, the pope said its iron couplings summoned an image of Europe “consisting of many different links, whose strength is provided by unity”.
“Christianity helps in building such a Europe,” he said, adding that Hungary was a bridge-builder since “its different denominations live side by side, without conflict, respecting each another and cooperating in a constructive spirit.”
Francis called Budapest a “city of saints”, mentioning King Saint Stephen as an example, whose instructions to his son were “a kind of spiritual testimony to the Hungarian nation”, especially when it came to passages in which the sainted king advocated love and charity “not only towards kinsmen and relatives, or noblemen, or the rich, or neighbours and people living here, but towards strangers, too”.
He quoted Stephen as advocating “the practice of love”, adding “be meek and never resist truth”.
The pope thanked Hungary’s leaders for their support of charity and educational institutions inspired by Christian values, as well as the help they provide to Christian communities worldwide, particularly in Syria and Lebanon.
Cooperation between the church and state is productive, he said, adding that for it to remain so, their boundaries must be preserved. “It is important that every Christian remember this and hold the Gospel as a point of reference, and adhere to the free and liberating decisions of Jesus and not commit to the unique logic of power,” Francis said.
He welcomed “healthy secularisation”, which he said was not synonymous with the kind of secularisation that “is allergic to all sacred aspects and sacrifices itself on the altar of profit”.
Concerning the “complex” topic of openness to others which “has caused a lot of debate”, Francis said Christians should look to the legacy of St. Stephen, Hungary’s first Christian king. “We must address the problems without excuses and without delay by thinking of Christ, who is there among our many brethren fleeing conflicts, poverty and climate change,” he said.
He added that this was an issue that “we must face together because it will affect everyone sooner or later”. He said a common secure and lawful mode of action was urgently needed to face a life-changing challenge which cannot be stopped by rejection; it must be accepted “to create a future which will only exist if it is a common future”.
“This will call to the front the followers of Jesus, those who want to follow the example of the witnesses of the Gospel,” he said.
Before his talks with President Novák, the pope made the following entry in the Sándor Palace guest book: “I have arrived as a pilgrim and a friend of Hungary, a country with a rich history and culture.
In Budapest, the city of bridges and saints, I am thinking of the whole of Europe and pray that it can be a home for peace in unity and solidarity, and a messenger of inclusion.”
President Presents Pope Francis With Gifts
President Katalin Novák on Friday presented Pope Francis with several gifts on the occasion of his apostolic visit to Hungary.
Novák presented Francis with an album of Biblical drawings by Hungarian children and youth. The pope was also given stems of a special rose named after St. Elisabeth. The president also presented the pope with a Virgin Mary robe of Andocs.
She noted on Facebook this week that Pope Francis had elevated the church in the southern Hungarian village to the rank of minor basilica. The pope was also given a decorative book on the Holy Crown of Hungary.
Novák: Hungarians See 'Man of Peace' in Pope Francis
Hungarians and millions worldwide see Pope Francis as “a man of peace”, President Katalin Novák said in her greeting to the pontiff at the Carmelite Monastery on Friday. The president expressed hope that Francis could “talk to Kyiv, Moscow, Washington, Brussels, Budapest and everyone without whom there can be no peace”.
“Here in Budapest, we ask that you personally take action in the interest of securing an urgent, just peace,” she said.
“We believe that the arrival of the Holy Father in Hungary is no accident, but the right time and place to meet, to ring the bells and declare peace,” Novák said. God, when the time is right, brings together and gives strength to those who trust the power of love, unity and peace, she added.
“Hungarians want to rise to the heights where they can find the unity of Christ’s faithful and well-intentioned people seeking peace,” Novák said.
She said Hungarians wanted the pope’s apostolic visit to give an impetus to that rise to a height “from where we can get a view of the path to spiritual renewal and peace”. “It is we, Hungarians and Europeans who must stay on the right path,” Novák said.
“We can receive encouragement, guidance and affirmation for that, but it is only we European people and leaders who can use the free will given to us in a way that will lead to a more peaceful, more democratic and stronger Europe.”
Novák noted that St. Pope John Paul II visited Hungary when the country needed him most, at the time of the “new beginning” after the fall of communism. This, she said, was also true of Pope Francis’ visit, because “now is the time when Hungary and Europe need him most”.
“Your Holiness reaffirms in us that there is a basis for, sense in, and future for life based on Christian values in the 21st century, too,” Novák said. “And we also reaffirm this for Your Holiness. This is what we give each other: life, the protection of the family and the sustaining power of Christianity.”
“We are allies,” Novák said, adding that Hungary and the pope both protected “life, woman, man, our persecuted Christian brethren, as well as the freedom of those who think and act differently.” Novák said this alliance had been made “tragically timely” by the war in Ukraine.
She underscored the “exemplary” assistance Hungary was providing to the 1.5 million refugees who have fled to Hungary, saying Hungarians saw the pain of the families who have been torn apart. “But we mothers primarily want to win peace, not the war,” she said.
“We don’t want to send our sons and husbands to the frontlines.” As Hungary’s first female president, Novák thanked Francis for his encouragement to women in starting families, raising children, and their role as community leaders.
Orbán Meets Pope Francis
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met Pope Francis in the presidential Sándor Palace in Budapest on Friday, the PM’s press chief said. In the one-on-one talks, Orbán said Hungary’s Fundamental Law declares Christianity as one of the nurturing forces of the Hungarian nation, Bertalan Havasi said.
Hungary would not exist without Christianity, and its future depends on sticking to that path, Orbán said, adding: “The Christian path is that of peace.”
MTI / PM's press office photos