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Calling the Hungarian Church Conservative Is More of a Compliment Than an Insult

- NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER - Solène Tadié - Interview - APRIL 11, 2023 -

Speaking with the Register, Bishop András Veres discusses the upcoming papal trip to Budapest and other current issues, including the recent European synodal discussions in Prague and Hungary’s controversial reputation in the West

Bishop András Veres speaks with the Register in Győr, Hungary. (photo: Solène Tadié / National Catholic Register)

Pope Francis’ much-awaited visit to the Hungarian capital of Budapest will be held at the end of this month, on April 28-30.

For many Hungarians, it will be an opportunity to generate a different international view of their country, which is regularly singled out by European elites for policies deemed too conservative and criticized for being too neutral in the sensitive context of the war in Ukraine.

Presenting a more accurate picture to the world is also the hope of the president of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference, Bishop András Veres, who deplores the widespread lack of knowledge about his country in the rest of Europe that has contributed to this anti-Hungarian prejudice.

Born in Pócspetri in 1959, Bishop Veres has served as president of the conference since 2015 and was appointed bishop of Győr by Pope Francis in 2016. He is also the grand chancellor of the historic Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest.

In this March 27 interview with the Register, Bishop Veres also discusses why the Holy Father decided to make a pastoral visit to Budapest just 18 months after participating in the 2021 Eucharistic Congress held there, the main challenges currently facing the local Church, and the recent European Synod on Synodality discussions in Prague.

Your Excellency, what do you think prompted Pope Francis to come back to Hungary, just a year and a half after the Eucharistic Congress?

We can perhaps say that there was a little disappointment that he only spent a short time with us. For his two visits to Hungary, Pope John Paul II stayed longer. So, obviously, after Pope Francis’ short visit to Hungary in 2021, the Hungarian faithful were really waiting for him. Indeed, as he was saying goodbye, Pope Francis said that he would love to come back for an official state visit. We were all delighted to hear that.

I think his memorable experience with the fervent crowd of faithful during the Eucharistic Congress weighted in his decision to come again. We could tell that he was very happy to be here. And he was also close to Hungarian nuns back in Buenos Aires, who helped him with his mission. He somehow has a special tie with our country.


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