Ukrainian war and migration are the topics of the Pope’s Hungarian visitation
The war in Ukraine, the migration and Europe's Christian roots are expected to top the agenda in Pope Francis' Hungarian visitation - and private talks with nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, states the Reuters.
Pope Francis leaves on Friday on a three-day trip to Hungary, where the war in Ukraine, migration and Europe’s Christian roots are expected to top the agenda in his public addresses and private talks with nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban – states the Reuters.
Francis is going there to keep a promise of an official visit after a stop of only seven hours to close a Church congress in Budapest in 2021 on his way to Slovakia left many feeling slighted.
It will be his first trip since he was hospitalised for bronchitis in March.
While its main purpose is meeting Hungarian Catholics, Francis acknowledged on Sunday that its content is affected by current events.
“It also will be a trip to the centre of Europe, which continues to be battered by frigid winds of war, while the movement of so many people has put urgent humanitarian issues on the agenda,” he said. Orban has said Hungary and the Vatican are the only two European states that can be described as “pro-peace” regarding Ukraine. Both Orban and the pope have called for a ceasefire and negotiations to end the war and Francis has urged Ukraine to be open to dialogue with “aggressor” Russia, something Ukraine so far has ruled out.
Hungary, which supports a sovereign Ukraine but still has strong economic ties to Russia, has refused to send weapons to Ukraine. But while the pope has often called for a general ban on arms trafficking and reduction in weapons manufacturing, he has also said sending arms to Ukraine is morally acceptable if they are used only for self-defence.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, millions of refugees have fled through Hungary and moved to other countries. About 35,000 have applied for temporary protection status.