PM Orbán visits Pope Francis first after election victory

By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s first overseas trip after his fourth consecutive two-thirds election victory was to the Vatican where Pope Francis received him in a private audience on Thursday.

“It follows from the logic of Hungarian history that Hungary should treat the center of Christianity, the Vatican and the Holy Father differently,” Orbán said in a statement following the meeting, adding the visit was a “continuation of a great Hungarian tradition.”

He emphasized that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine is of special importance, as the Holy Father is well known for mobilizing his influence for peace, and Hungary also takes the view that there should be peace as soon as possible.

Orbán revealed that he had officially invited Pope Ferenc to visit Hungary during the following year, to which he received an “encouragingly positive” answer.

According to the Hungarian prime minister, it was also mentioned that Hungary received the largest number of refugees from Ukraine — some 640,000 — on a population basis, even including students who were not Ukrainians but had studied in Ukraine and would now be able to continue their studies in Hungary.

“We are engaged in the largest humanitarian operation of all time. This is gaining recognition and respect all over the world,” emphasized the prime minister, who added that the Holy Father had also acknowledged this and had encouraged us not to “give up this good custom.”

Orbán claimed that his country does not have a political relationship with the Vatican, but a spiritual one. He added that the most important agreement between the Vatican and the Hungarian state was on the primordial role of families.

“We all think here in Rome, in the Vatican and in Budapest that the most important community of our time is the family. This is the ultimate refuge and ultimate refuge for modern man, so all our efforts must be mobilized to protect and strengthen this community, the most important human community of the modern age, and in this we can count on the Holy Father,” Orbán said.

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