By Philip Pullella and Gergely Szakacs
BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Pope Francis arrived in Hungary early on Sunday, beginning an unusually quick keep that underlines variations together with his political reverse, nationalist and anti-immigrant Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Francis, 84, who’s spending solely seven hours within the capital Budapest, went instantly from the airport to a non-public meeting with Orban and President Janos Ader within the Museum of Fine Arts.
Unlike practically each different papal journey, there was no dwell tv protection of the preliminary greetings or the photograph alternatives that normally precede and observe such conferences.
The Vatican mentioned the meeting, which was additionally attended by the Vatican’s high two diplomats and a Hungarian cardinal, lasted about 40 minutes.
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Orban posted an image on his Facebook web page of him shaking the pope’s hand standing earlier than Hungarian and Vatican flags, with the remark: “I requested Pope Francis to not let Christian Hungary perish.” Orban has typically mentioned that Hungary’s Christian identification was being threatened by Muslim immigration.
The pope is making the temporary Budapest cease to say a Mass closing a global Roman Catholic meeting, often known as an International Eucharist Congress.
On Sunday afternoon he strikes on to Slovakia, the place he’ll keep for much longer, visiting 4 cities earlier than returning to Rome on Wednesday.
The brevity of his Budapest keep has prompted diplomats and Catholic media to counsel the pope is giving precedence to Slovakia, in impact snubbing Hungary.
The Vatican has referred to as the Budapest go to a “non secular pilgrimage”. Orban’s workplace has mentioned comparisons with the Slovakia leg could be “deceptive”.
Francis has typically denounced what he sees as a resurgence of nationalist and populist actions, referred to as for European unity, and criticised nations that attempt to clear up the migration disaster with unilateral or isolationist actions.
By distinction, Orban advised the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia final week the one answer to migration was for the European Union to “give all rights again to the nation state”.
The pope has referred to as for migrants to be welcomed and built-in to deal with what he has referred to as Europe’s “demographic winter”. Orban mentioned in Slovenia that right now’s migrants “are all Muslims” and that solely “the normal Christian household coverage might help us out of that demographic disaster.”
The journey is the pope’s first since present process main surgical procedure in July. Francis advised reporters on the airplane taking him to Budapest that he was “feeling superb”.
He even joked with one about his baldness by evaluating his head to an “airport runway,” seen from afar.
“We are resuming (common) journeys, and this is essential as a result of we will deliver our phrases and greetings to folks,” Francis advised reporters in a reference to COVID-19.
The pope made no journeys in 2020. He went to Iraq in March. He is predicted to go to Greece, Cyprus and Malta later this yr and can virtually definitely go to Glasgow in November for the United Nations local weather change summit.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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