Pope warns of anti-Semitism as he visits Hungary

Pope warns of anti-Semitism as he visits Hungary

During a brief visit to Hungary, Pope Francis warned that anti-Semitism is “still lurking” in Europe.

He was speaking after meeting with Hungary’s populist and anti-immigrant Prime Minister Viktor Orban, with whom he disagrees strongly on the issue of refugees.

Mr. Orban has also been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks, which he dismisses as “simply ridiculous”

The Prime Minister said in a Facebook post that he had “asked Pope Francis not to let Christian Hungary perish”

The meeting between Pope Francis and Mr. Orban lasted about 40 minutes in Budapest’s Museum of Fine Arts.

In his subsequent address to Christian and Jewish leaders, Francis warned of the “the threat of anti-Semitism still lurking in Europe and elsewhere”

He stated: “This is a fuse that must not be ignited. And the best way to defuse it is to work together in a positive manner and to promote fraternity.”

Hungary has a sizable Jewish community, estimated at 100,000 people.

Mr. Orban was chastised during his 2017 election campaign for using posters of Jewish financier George Soros with the words “Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh!” He rejected calls from the Jewish community to demolish them.

During a visit to London, the Prime Minister denied any anti-Semitism, claiming that Mr. Soros was simply a rival who supported migrant migration.

Mr. Orban and the Pope undoubtedly hold opposing views on refugees and migration.

Some of the PM’s supporters in Hungary, as well as pro-Orban media, have previously mocked the Pope as “anti-Christian” for his remarks on assisting refugees.

The Pope has previously chastised political leaders who try to erect barriers to keep migrants out, and in 2019 donated money to help migrants in Mexico attempting to cross the border into the United States.

However, some of the worshippers gathered in Budapest for the Mass said they were putting this aside.

82-year-old Eva Mandoki told Agence France-Presse: “We are not here for politics, but to see and hear Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church. We can’t wait to see him.”

The Pope is holding a Mass in Budapest to mark the conclusion of the Eucharistic Congress, which has drawn tens of thousands of Christians from around the world over the past week.

However, his entire Hungarian visit is expected to last only about seven hours before he departs for three days in Slovakia.

The Pope’s brief visit to Hungary in comparison to Slovakia has sparked speculation about the messages he is attempting to send.

According to one pro-Orban TV analyst, “Pope Francis wants to humiliate Hungary by only staying a few hours.”

The Vatican has referred to it as a “spiritual trip” and Mr. Orban has stated that comparisons to Slovakia are “misleading” However, according to some sources, the Vatican turned down offers of a longer stay.

This is the Pope’s first international trip since undergoing surgery earlier this year.

His visit to Slovakia aims to strengthen Catholic-Jewish relations, and he will also meet with members of Slovakia’s Roma community.

Since becoming Pope in 2013, Francis has visited dozens of countries, though his travels have recently been hampered by the spread of coronavirus.

He made a historic four-day trip to Iraq earlier this year.

The 84-year-old was admitted to the hospital in July for treatment of a colon problem.

He also has a number of other health issues. He lost a portion of his right lung when he was 21 years old, and he also has a hip problem and sciatica, which causes pain to radiate from the lower back to the legs.

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Pope warns of anti-Semitism as he visits Hungary