Here is what Pope Francis told PM Orbán, President Novák, church and political leaders
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”.
Europe, a melting pot of 27 nations, needs harmony and unity that does not crush the individual parts that fit well into the whole, he said. 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.
Here are some photos:
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 differnt 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”.
Here is the pope’s speech:
Pope Francis 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 Novak, the pope made the following entry in the Sandor 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.”
Pope Francis should preach to leaders of countries. All governments’ are responsible for the welfare of their citizens. It is unfair for the west and their hardworking taxpayers to support all uneducated hordes. Billions of dollars are given to underdeveloped countries, there is no demonstrable results that the money has done any good. Peoples’ irrational votes are also responsible for some of the mess. A good example is many thousands of Venezuelans supported Maduro, when the economy turned, they all left the country and tried to cross into the US illegally. The Pope’s naive statements are totally irrational in today’s political environment.
@mariavontheresa – that is why the Pope is the Pope. He builds bridges and encourages Christians, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, people of all skin colors, everyone to give thinking differently a go.
His point of politics being “more about inciting antagonism rather than finding solutions” I do like.
Stoking outrage and encouraging people’s negative bias may give you the clicks and the likes, however the world is not a monochrome place, and could definitely se a dose of out of the box thinking and collaborative action.