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Pope Francis highlighted the courage of Saint Stephen, Hungary’s first Christian King, and Elizabeth of Hungary as examples of meeting Jesus Christ at the closing mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest on Sunday. Francis called on the faithful gathered for the mass in Heroes’ Square to “allow the meeting with Jesus to transform us in the eucharist the way it transformed the great and courageous saints whom you respect like Saint Stephen and Saint Elizabeth”.
“Like them, we should not settle for little,” the pontiff said. “We should not settle for a faith that consists only of rituals and repetitions.” Francis said that although the Eucharistic Congress marked the end of a journey, it should, more importantly, mark “the beginning of another”. He said the meaning of God was not found in the catechism but required “a vital personal response”.
The pope said that although the Cross had never been “fashionable”, it brought “inner healing”. He said the debates and fights around the Cross were a clash of God’s logic and the world’s logic. God’s logic, he said, was “humble love”. God’s path is “free of all compulsions” and seeks what is good for others, the pontiff said. Meanwhile, the world’s logic, he said, sought appreciation, prerogatives, favourable judgement and success. Pope Francis said the difference was not about who was or wasn’t religious, but between the “true God” and “the god of oneself”.
The mass was also attended by President János Áder, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, Speaker of Parliament László Kövér, Tamás Sulyok, the head of the Constitutional Court, András Varga, the head of the Kúria, Hungary’s supreme court, Justice Minister Judit Varga, Defence Minister Tibor Benkő, state secretary for church and minority relations Miklós Soltész, former president Pál Schmitt, Zoltán Lomnici, head of the Human Dignity Council civil group, and Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, among others.
On his way to the mass, Francis Pope Francis greeted crowds in Budapest in the open-topped popemobile. Many in the crowd waved Hungarian, Szekler, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese and Vatican flags. Hungarian public media’s Rome correspondent said Pope Francis called his trip to Budapest “a visit to the heart of Europe”.
Pope Francis’s plane departed Budapest for Bratislava on Sunday afternoon. The pontiff arrived at Liszt Ferenc International Airport in the morning where he was greeted with military honours and by church and state delegations. At the airport, Pope Francis was seen off by a church delegation consisting of Michael August Blume, the Apostolic Nuncio to Budapest; Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest; and András Veres, the head of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference; as well as a state delegation comprising Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, Human Resources Minister Miklós Kásler and state secretary for church and minority relations Miklós Soltész.