Cardinal Péter Erdő, the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, said on Monday that from all the speeches given by Pope Francis during his visit to Hungary, “it could be felt that he paid attention to our problems and our situation”. He added that Hungarians “got the encouragement we need” from the pontiff.
“Pope Francis came for a pastoral visit, and he spoke to us keeping in mind the peculiarities of Hungarian history and paying attention to our pastoral needs,” Cardinal Erdő said. The cardinal said that Pope Francis likes to visit small nations, and although Hungary is in the middle of Europe, “our history shows that we have always been a borderland between East and West or even North and South”. This involved a lot of suffering, but also many lessons and many opportunities over time, he added. Cardinal Erdő said he believes Pope Francis was much less strict than usual during his meeting with priests and bishops in St. Stephen’s Basilica, owing to Hungary’s history. Pope Francis could feel the state of the Hungarian church, which suffered so much during communism, “he could see before his eyes” when priests and monks were imprisoned, and although he gave advice to the Hungarian community, he was not as tough as he usually is with the clergy, the cardinal added.