In a June 20 inter-view with Croatian Catholic weekly Glas Koncila, the Christian politician, who has been disparaged by Pope Francis as a populist and nationalist, dismissed reports of Francis’ refusal to meet him on the Hungary papal visit as “false news.”
Attributing media reports first published by faithful Catholic Vaticanist Edward Pentin to “anti-Church and anti-Christian circles,” the prime minister went on to claim that a lack of clarity regarding protocol was responsible for the breakdown in diplomacy.
Pope Francis is visiting Hungary not as head of state but as head of the Catholic Church attending the Eucharistic Congress, which is not a Hungarian event, Orbán noted.
Nevertheless, Orbán remarked that “what hurts [him] the most,” is that he would “not be able to attend the beatification of Cdl. Stefan Wyszyñski, which takes place on the same day in Poland as the World Eucharistic Congress in Hungary.”
A Vatican expert told Church Militant that “Orbán’s considerable regret at not being able to attend Wyszyñski’s beatification is likely a dig at Francis and his handlers for planning a papal visit to Budapest lasting just a few hours and, at first, even refusing to meet the nation’s leaders.”