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Opposing takes on Pope Francis’s visit to Hungary

May 3rd, 2023

In their first issues after the Mayday holiday, commentators offer diverging evaluations of the message of the three-day visit by the head of the Catholic Church to Budapest.

In Népszava, Tamás Rónay accuses pro-government observers of selective interpretations of the Pope’s speeches in the Hungarian capital. They only heard that Francis condemned the ’gender theory’ and welcomed measures by the Hungarian authorities to help families. On the other hand, he continues, they turned a deaf ear to the Pope’s condemnation of nationalism and populism, and his call for European unity. In the headline of his column, he calls on Hungarians to ‘follow Pope Francis’.

In Magyar Nemzet, Levente Sitkei wonders why non-believing left-wingers suddenly pose as followers of the Pope. He accuses them of simply trying to exploit the visit to attack the government. Sitkei accuses such commentators of twisting the Pope’s words, as if he found Hungary’s plight dreadful and hopeless. In reality, he suggests, the Pope simply carried a message of love and hope. That message was fully understood by the huge crowds that gathered from all parts of Hungary and from neighbouring countries to meet Pope Francis, Sitkei concludes.