Speaking ahead of a visit of Pope Francis to Hungary at the end of the week, a Catholic bishop has claimed that the former Soviet-bloc state is one of the only countries in Europe speaking up for the Christian worldview.
Speaking about the April 28-30 visit of the pontiff to the predominantly Roman Catholic central European state, László Rigó-Kiss, Bishop of Szeged-Csanád, said it would be pastoral, “to visit Catholics living in Hungary and encourage them and confirm them in their faith”.
“We are taking it as an encouragement, the strengthening of our efforts to stand out and protect and defend our Christian values”, he told State Secretary Zoltán Kovács in a podcast. They “are in fact not only our Christian values but real European values”, he added.
Bishop Rigó-Kiss spoke in detail about the papal visit and its key messages. “If one gives up these values then it leads to self-destruction. And we seem to be one of the few nations in Europe, in all humility, who really think this way”, he continued.
Pope Francis will meet the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister Viktor Orban, high-ranking Hungarian state officials and representatives of the Hungarian Catholic Church and other churches in Hungary. He will go on to visit various institutions caring for the poor, refugees and members of Hungarian minorities. After Sunday’s papal mass, Francis will visit Pázmány Péter Catholic University.
“The greater number of Christians are not living in Europe. Europe has lost a lot, whether in its Christian roots or it being Christian at least culturally," Bishop Rigó-Kiss added.
“Unfortunately, Europe is losing very much again. Because of an insane ideology of giving up one’s identity that is practiced in many societies in Europe," he continued.
The Catholic bishop was especially critical of what he argued were a decline of Christian perspectives in the rest of Europe:
“It’s very strange. Those who call themselves to be living proudly in the highest level of democracy have these paradoxes. They have changed their society into an ideological dictatorship of nihilism," he said in the interview.
“This clearly will finish with the end of one’s identity and the suicide of society. Common sense seems to have disappeared from these societies”.