- 2 May 2023 12:22 PM
- Hungary Matters
In his homily delivered in Kossuth Square in front of Parliament, the pope said “Let us try to be – in our words, deeds and daily activities – like Jesus, an open door: a door that is never shut in anyone’s face, a door that enables everyone to enter and experience the beauty of the Lord’s love and forgiveness”.
“Let the Lord of life enter our hearts, with his words of consolation and healing, so that we can then go forth as open doors within society. Be open and inclusive, then, and in this way, help Hungary to grow in fraternity, which is the path of peace,” said the pontiff.
He said that “this morning, in this place, we sense the joy of our being God’s holy people. All of us were born of his call. He called us together, and so we are his people, his flock, his Church”.
Noting that “we are diverse and come from different communities”, the pontiff said “it is good for us to be together: bishops and priests, religious and lay faithful”.
Pope Francis: Beautiful to Share Joy of Being Together
It is beautiful to share the joy of being together with the ecumenical delegations, the leaders of the Jewish community, the representatives of civil institutions and the diplomatic corps, Pope Francis said on Sunday morning, celebrating mass at the square in front of Parliament.
“This is the meaning of catholicity: we Christians, all of us called by name by the Good Shepherd, are summoned to receive and spread his love, to make his fold inclusive and never to exclude others.” The pope called Jesus “the door that leads us back into the world”.
“He urges us to go forth to encounter our brothers and sisters. Let us never forget that all of us, without exception, are called to this; we are called to step out of our comfort zones and find the courage to reach out to all those peripheries that need the light of the Gospel.”
He called it “sad and painful” to see “the closed doors of our selfishness with regard to others; the closed doors of our individualism amid a society of growing isolation; the closed doors of our indifference towards the underprivileged and those who suffer; the doors we close towards those who are foreign or unlike us, towards migrants or the poor.
Closed doors also within our ecclesial communities: doors closed to other people, closed to the world, closed to those who are “irregular”, closed to those who long for God’s forgiveness”.
“Please, let us open those doors! Let us try to be – in our words, deeds and daily activities – like Jesus, an open door: a door that is never shut in anyone’s face, a door that enables everyone to enter and experience the beauty of the Lord’s love and forgiveness”.
“Be open and inclusive, then, and in this way, help Hungary to grow in fraternity, which is the path of peace,” said Pope Francis.
Cardinal Péter Erdő, the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, led the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the mass. Closing the ceremony, Erdő thanked Pope Francis for “coming to us, to people whose language is so different that it is difficult to find even a similar language all around the world”.
To people who have insisted on western Christianity for a thousand years, he added. He thanked the pope for travelling to Hungary to visit the poor and refugees who had arrived from neighbouring Ukraine. “We thank you for visiting the poor, sick children and young people who represent the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity to our church,” the cardinal said.
Erdő also said that people living along the Danube had learnt that the river was not only a border but it also “connects people if bridges are built”. He cited the example of King Saint Stephen, Hungary’s first king, who is today respected as a saint by the Catholic and the Orthodox churches because he was an advocate for Christ in a period when there was full unity between the churches of the East and West.
Pope Francis, in his closing prayer appealed to world leaders asking them “to build peace and to give the younger generations a future of hope, not war, a future full of cradles not tombs”.
He said he entrusted to patroness Magna Domina Hungarorum all Hungarians, and the faith and the future of the entire continent of Europe and the cause of peace. The pontiff thanked all Hungarians for their warm welcome and affection paid to him during his entire visit.
“With gratitude for these days, I keep you in my heart and I ask you to pray for me. Isten áldd meg a magyart! [God bless the Hungarians!],” he said.
The mass was attended by President Katalin Novák, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Parliamentary Speaker László Kövér, among others.
Pope Francis Commemorates Hungary's Martyred Priests
“The many bishops, priests, religious women and men martyred during the Communist persecution testify to the unwavering faith of Hungarians,” Pope Francis said in his address in Saint Stephen’s Basilica on Friday afternoon.
The pope commemorated Cardinal József Mindszenty, quoting the late cardinal as saying that “if a million Hungarians are praying, I will have no fear of the future”. “Be welcoming, bear witness to the prophetic message of the Gospel, but above all be women and men of prayer, because the future depends on this,” the pope said.
He thanked Hungarian priests, monks, and their co-workers “for their faith and faithfulness”. The pontiff made special mention of the Hungarian Sisters of the Society of Jesus, whom he had met in Argentina after they left Hungary during the religious persecution, saying they had been especially kind to him.
The pope said one of the Church’s most important tasks was to interpret changes in the world and seek “to meet pastoral challenges as best we can”. “In this changing world we want to testify that Christ is our future”.
“Our lives, for all their frailty, are held firmly in his hands. If ever we forget this, we, clergy and laity alike, will end up seeking human ways and means to defend ourselves from the world, either withdrawing into our comfortable and tranquil religious oases, or else running after the shifting winds of worldliness.
In both cases, our Christianity will lose its vigour, and we will cease to be the salt of the earth,” said the pope.
Francis warned, however, that in Hungary, with a solid tradition of faith, “we witness the spread of secularism and its effects, which often threaten the integrity and beauty of the family, expose young people to lifestyles marked by materialism and hedonism, and lead to polarisation regarding new issues and challenges”.
The Church, therefore, is faced with the temptation of locking itself up and becoming militant, said the pope, adding that “this reality could also offer an opportunity for discussion and asking questions”.
Christian communities have an obligation for dialogue, an obligation that they should be “capable of responding to questions and challenges without fear or rigidity”, he said.
On arriving at the basilica, the pope was greeted by Cardinal Péter Erdő, the head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, and Bishop András Veres, the leader of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference.
In his address, Veres said Hungary was going through an “extremely big social, political, spiritual, and religious transformation” and the Church was “seeking ways to face the new challenges”. The Hungarian Catholic Church is working to be an active participant in the changes rather than being a passive observers, he said.
Among the challenges, Veres mentioned secularisation, hedonism, indifference to biblical values, as well as “difficulties of passing on the faith in the family” and the dwindling number of priests. At the same time, he pointed to “new and welcome expressions of religious life” such as new religious movements, Catholic schools and universities, and “greater presence and involvement of laymen in church life”.
Addressing the pope, the bishop said Hungarians would welcome his guidelines “on this way because we want to make a credible testimony in a changing world that our future is in Christ”.
Pope Francis Pays Visit to Batthyány-Strattmann Children's Home in Budapest
Pope Francis paid a private visit to the László Batthyány-Strattmann Roman Catholic children’s home where he met blind and visually impaired children on Saturday morning.
The pope was shown around in the facility where the home’s residents gave a short programme and presented the pontiff with gifts prepared by them. Pope Francis received a blue-and-white and yellow-and-white small bag representing the Argentinian and the Vatican flag.
He was also presented with a yellow-and-white rosary with a small Franciscan cross made of wood and two letters, one carrying the message of the home’s children in Italian and Braille and the other telling the story of the healing of a blind boy.
Accepting the gifts, Pope Francis said thanks for “the tenderness” with which he was welcomed in the institute. “Thank you for the songs, the gestures, and your eyes. Thank you, mister director, for opening this meeting with the prayer of Saint Francis,” said the pope.
The pontiff said it was a lot easier to mastermind various ideas and ideologies than “accepting reality just as it is, yet that is the way to follow the Gospel”.
Pope Francis: 'We Need A Church Fluent in Language of Charity'
Pope Francis said “we need a Church that is fluent in the language of charity” in St. Elizabeth’s Church where he met poor people, refugees and representatives of the Greek Catholic community, in Budapest on Saturday morning. In the church, named after the Hungarian saint patron of the poor, the pope thanked the Church in Hungary for its generous and wide-ranging service to charity.
“Thank you too, for having welcomed – not only with generosity but also with enthusiasm – so many refugees from Ukraine,” he said. The pontiff afterwards heard testimonies of life including a Roma woman from Máriapócs, in north-eastern Hungary, a father and his family who fled the war in Ukraine and the Budapest-based Csak Egyet charitable foundation aiding homeless people.
The pontiff said that Saint Elizabeth, to whom the Hungarian people have great devotion and affection, “spoke the language of charity”. He said that when it comes to aiding the poor, the sick and the homeless “it is not enough to provide bread to fill stomachs; we need to fill people’s hearts!”
The pope said that “charity is much more than material and social assistance. It has to do with the whole person; it strives to put people back on their feet with the love of Jesus: a love that helps them to recover their beauty and their dignity”.
Pope Francis: 'No One Can Take Your Place in the History of the Church and The World'
Appearing before some 11,000 young Hungarians, Pope Francis said on Saturday afternoon that “remember that no one can take your place in the history of the Church and the world: no one can do what only you can do”.
In his address at the event in the Papp László Sports Arena, the pope spoke about the importance of dreams, ambitions, community-building and team-work, also highlighting the importance of silence and prayer. Calling those in attendance in the arena his friends, the pontiff told them that “each of you is precious to Jesus, and also to me!”.
“Remember that no one can take your place in the history of the Church and the world: no one can do what only you can do. Let us help each other, then, to believe that we are loved and precious, that we are made for great things. Let us pray for this and encourage one another in this!” said the pope.
Speaking about the followers of Jesus, the pontiff said “Jesus does not want his disciples to be like schoolchildren who merely repeat lessons learned, but young people who are free and press ahead, fellow travellers of a God who listens to their needs and is attentive to their dreams”.
“Jesus does not shatter their ambitions, but corrects them about the right way to achieve them. He accepts their desire for greatness, but he insists on one thing that we too must always remember: it is not by stepping upon others that we become great, but by stooping to help them.
We do not achieve greatness at the expense of others, but rather by serving them,” Pope Francis said. He said that Jesus “never disparages our expectations but, on the contrary, raises the bar of our desires,” adding that “Jesus would agree with a proverb of yours, which I hope I pronounce well: Aki mer az nyer (Those who dare, win the prize)”.
The pope encouraged his audience “to aim high”, “put your talents to good use” and “invest in the great goals of life”. The event was introduced by a greeting speech of the Hungarian lead bishop Ferenc Palánki, and the testimonies of four youths.
The pope was presented with the gifts given by the youth that included a soccer ball carrying the signature of the legendary player Ferenc Puskás, a Rubik’s cube and a bottle of sweet wine from the Tokaj region.
Pope Francis Receives Budapest Mayor
Pope Francis on Saturday received Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony who was accompanied at the meeting by his wife, daughter and son, the mayor’s office said.
The office noted in a statement that on the first day of his visit, the pope “described Budapest as a city of history, bridges and saints”, adding that at Saturday’s meeting he said that “instead of walls, bridges are needed”.
Karácsony expressed thanks to the pope for giving the city’s residents an opportunity to gain strength and courage from his visit and remarks about Budapest during a period of crises.
The statement cited Karácsony telling Pope Francis that “Budapest is a free and diverse city of solidarity which pays special attention to supporting those in need, the poor and refugees”. It added that Karácsony and the pontiff had shared similar views concerning social justice, climate protection and environmental protection.
Karácsony welcomed the fact that the Vatican had chosen the Chain Bridge as the symbol of the papal visit, referring to the need for building bridges between people, which the mayor also considers his mission, according to the statement.
Pope Francis Warns of Risks of 'Shifting From Communism to Consumerism'
Pope Francis, in his address at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University on Sunday afternoon, warned of the risks of “shifting from communism to consumerism” in a closing event of his three-day visit to Budapest.
Meeting representatives of academic and cultural life at the university’ Faculty of Information Technology and Bionics, the pontiff emphasised the importance of self-knowledge, the recognition of one’s limitations and curbing the presumption of self-sufficiency. He said the first of two thoughts he wanted to leave with his audience was “Know thyself”, citing the famous maxim from the temple of Delphi.
Knowing yourself, the pope said meant that “we must be able to recognise our limitations and, consequently, to curb the presumption of self-sufficiency”. He said that “once we realise that we are creatures, we become creative”, adding that “we learn to immerse ourselves in the world instead of attempting to dominate it”.
The second thought Pope Francis said he wanted to leave with those present concerned truth. He cited Jesus who said that “the truth will make you free”. He said that “Hungary had seen a succession of ideologies that imposed themselves as truth, yet failed to bestow freedom”. “Today too, the risk remains. I think of the shift from communism to consumerism. Common to both those ‘isms’ is a false notion of freedom.
Communism offered a ‘freedom’ that was restricted, limited from without, determined by someone else. Consumerism promises a hedonistic, conformist, libertine ‘freedom’ that enslaves people to consumption and to material objects”, the pope said.
He said it was easy “to pass from limits imposed on thinking, as in communism, to the belief that there are no limits, as in consumerism! To pass from a blinkered freedom to an unbridled freedom”.
Closing his address, Pope Francis expressed hope that every university “will always be a beacon of universality and freedom, a fruitful workshop of humanism, a laboratory of hope”. “I bless you from the heart, and I thank you for all that you are doing. Köszönöm szépen! (Thank you very much!),” said the pontiff.
Pope Francis Bids Farewell to Budapest
Pope Francis left Budapest following an official farewell ceremony on Sunday afternoon, with his aircraft taking off from Liszt Ferenc International short after 6pm. The pontiff concluded a three-day apostolic visit to Hungary.
He was bid farewell by President Katalin Novák, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, Hungarian church leaders and around a hundred of volunteers waving flags of Hungary and the Vatican. Novák earlier handed over a bundle of cheese-straws she had personally prepared for the pope as a farewell gift.