Pope Francis to urge peace in Ukraine during Hungary visit

The call for peace in Ukraine will be one of the central topics of the speeches Pope Francis will deliver during his visit to Hungary next weekend, Csaba Torok, governor of the Esztergom parish and press officer of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told reporters in Rome on Tuesday.

The pontiff’s speeches and homilies will likely contain a “strong message” in connection with the war, Torok said.

He noted that Pope Francis had been working to mediate between the warring sides since the start of the conflict.

Torok said Pope Francis’s visit to Hungary will have a “political message”, adding, at the same time, that the moment of rapprochement between the pope and the Patriarch of Moscow would not happen in Budapest. He did not rule out, however, that representatives of the churches of Kyiv and Moscow would be present during Francis’s visit.

He noted that on the occasion of the closing mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest in 2021, Prime Minister Viktor Orban presented Francis as a gift a copy of the letter Hungarian King Bela IV wrote to Pope Innocent IV in the 13th century. The prime minister’s gesture was an intention to establish a relationship with the pope to protect Christianity, he added.

The Hungarian government also considers itself an ally of the Vatican when it comes to urging peace in Ukraine, Torok said.

Pope Francis will pay a visit to Hungary between April 28 and 30.

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