Pope Francis warned today (Sunday) against the growing scourge of anti-Semitism in Europe during a brief visit to Hungary, noting that the Tishrei holidays are an opportunity to act again for coexistence between Jews and Christians.
“I think the threat of anti-Semitism still lurks in Europe and everywhere,” the pope said during a meeting with Christian and Jewish leaders in Budapest. “This is a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to neutralize it is to work together, in a positive way, to promote brotherhood.”
Francis praised the Jews, whom he called “brothers to the faith of our father Abraham,” for helping “dismantle the walls that separated us in the past.” “We all strive to see each other not as strangers but as friends, not as enemies but as brothers and sisters,” he stressed. “The holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, which fall at this time of year, are an opportunity for grace and renewal of obedience to these spiritual invitations.”
The Pope’s (84) visit to Hungary, his first abroad since undergoing bowel surgery last July, lasted just seven hours, evidence of tensions between the Vatican and Prime Minister Victor Urban over the controversy surrounding Urban’s opposition to the absorption of immigrants and refugees. The populist policies of leaders such as Urban, while the Hungarian leader called Francis “the Pope of Soros”, after the Jewish-American-Hungarian tycoon who is a red sheet for the government in Budapest because of his support for the absorption of immigrants.
At the beginning of the visit, Francis was at the Museum of Art in Budapest with President Janusz Adar and Urban. According to the official announcement, the meeting lasted 40 minutes and the leaders discussed the role of the church in Hungary, environmental protection and “additional issues” that were not addressed.
During his short stay, Francis also visited the bishops who serve in Hungary and held a Mass in Heroes’ Square attended by about one hundred thousand believers. The pope then left Hungary and moved to Slovakia, where the visit will continue until Wednesday.