Pope Francis in Hungary: a flying visit

Pope Francis visited Hungary on Sunday on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest. He held a large open-air mass and also met certain government representatives including Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - albeit on a rather informal basis - and then travelled on to Slovakia. Commentators are unanimous that Orbán won't be able to make much hay out of this brief visit.

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Večernji list (HR) /

Hurrying through Hungary

The circumstances of the pope's visit to Hungary clearly show how Francis feels about the prime minister and his policies, says Večernji list:

“While Orbán immediately posted a photo of the handshake with the pope on his Facebook page, the Vatican's television channel only showed the pontiff entering a museum. ... The very fact that Pope Francis spent only seven hours in Orbán's Hungary without an overnight stay while he will spend almost three whole days in neighbouring Slovakia clearly shows what the pope thinks of Orbán and his policies - which regime circles in Hungary are interpreting as an attempt to 'humiliate' the country.”

Denník N (SK) /

Limited political capital for PM

Denník N also believes Orbán will hardly be able to capitalise on the pope's visit :

“Francis stressed the importance of values such as openness and respect for all people, and also spoke about the threat of anti-Semitism. Viktor Orbán, who wins elections precisely by negating these values, must have felt quite uncomfortable. ... Francis is a pope who is difficult to exploit. In organisational terms his visit to Hungary didn't go badly. But Orbán won't be able to extract as much political capital from it as he did out of the visit by a radical commentator from Fox News, who vehemently promoted him in August.”

Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

Pope is more than a head of state

The opposition is to blame for politicising the discussion about the pope's visit to Hungary, writes the pro-government Magyar Nemzet:

“The left has remained true to its usual style. In doing so, it has clearly shown how inaccessible the whole world of faith, hope and love is to it. For the left, the pope is a head of state, a politician. ... And for it the Roman Catholic Church is a dreadfully mysterious institution which it regards with suspicion because it represents an incomprehensible and unprovable ideology.”