Pope faces off with hard-line Orban

Pope Francis met yesterday with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, whose tough views on migration clash with those of the pontiff, during a brief visit to Budapest.

In Hungary to close the International Eucharistic Congress, Francis talked with Orban behind closed doors.

Orban is a self-styled defender of “Christian Europe” from migration while Francis urges help for people of all religions fleeing war and poverty. “I asked Pope Francis not to let Christian Hungary perish,” Orban said after the meeting.

The Vatican described the meeting as “cordial” and said that among topics discussed were the role of the church in the country and protection of the environment.

But among barbs Francis has faced from pro-Orban media is the line that he is “anti-Christian” for his pro-refugee sentiments.

His seven-hour-long stay in Hungary was to be followed by an official visit to Slovakia of more than two days. The 84-year-old pontiff’s trip comes two months after a colon operation that required a 10-day convalescence in hospital.

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