Viktor Orban. Photo supplied
Budapest

Orban offers Pope copy of 1250 letter in which a Hungarian king pleads for help against Tartar invasion

During his visit to Budapest on Sunday to celebrate mass, Pope Francis met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose anti-migration policy in Hungary he does not share. The Pope received a copy of a letter reminding him why he should be more circumspect in his views.

Published: September 15, 2021, 1:18 pm

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    The letter is a copy of a 1250 letter from Hungarian King Bela IV to Pope Innocent IV pleading for support in resisting the Mongol invasion of Hungary and Europe. After various Turkic nomadic groups became part of the armies of the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan in the early 13th century, these Turkic armies raided Russia and Hungary and became known to Europeans as Tartars.

    Pope Francis on Sunday, at the end of a flash visit to Budapest during the closing open-air Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress, had urged Hungarians to be more “open” after meeting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

    The Pope’s remarks were aimed at Orban’s sovereignist policies: “Religious sentiment has been the lifeblood of this nation, so attached to its roots. Yet the cross, planted in the ground, not only invites us to be well-rooted, it also raises and extends its arms towards everyone.”

    Orban, who has spoken out against “the Muslim invasion” offered Francis a copy of a letter from 1250 from a Hungarian king sent to the pope at the time, pleading for aid from the West against the Tartar warriors threatening Christian Hungary.

    Orban responded to the Pope’s challenge: “I asked the Pope not to let the Christians of Hungary perish.” The Prime Minister reported on the meeting with Francis on his Facebook account, where he also posted a photo of his meeting with the leader of the 1,3 billion Catholics. The copy of the letter he handed over is also an historical reminder that ordinary people secured the victory over the Golden Horde and the threat of the Mongolian Empire.

    Never in Vatican memory has such a “diplomatic affront” to a pope from a regularly elected head of government been witnessed, reported French daily Le Figaro.

    Hungarians remember their history

    The European Social Survey showed that anti-immigrant sentiment in the Hungarian public was higher than in most of the post-socialist block. These views are particularly strong when it comes to Muslims: according to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of Hungarians had unfavorable views of Muslims in 2016 compared to the EU median of 43 percent even though Hungary has a small Muslim population.

    Hungarians were also more likely to consider refugees a burden or a major threat more than the average European. In a 2017 survey, 64 percent of respondents from Hungary agreed with the statement that “all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped.”

    The Pope’s tone-deaf globalist drive

    The Pope’s support for clandestine immigration, his blessing of same-sex relationships and the ordination of women to address the clerical sex-abuse and pedophile crisis, has drawn fierce criticism, not only in Hungary. Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, leader of the conservative minority of German bishops, has warned that the process could lead to a schism and even “a German national church”.

    His warnings have been echoed by cardinals and bishops in other countries. “Please join me in praying for the universal Church and the bishops in Germany, that they step back from this radical rupture,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said in May this year.

    The threat of an invasion is real

    The Romanian press recently wrote that a “new Balkan route” now passes through western Romania into Hungary. Because Croatia and Hungary have erected high border fences on the Balkan route, illegals are now increasingly trying to get to the EU via Romania. The number of illegal border crossings rose by 200 percent in the first half of the year. The western Romanian city of Timisoara has turned into an important hub with many trying to find a vehicle that they can use to get to Western Europe undetected.

    Their escape plans are similar: they hide in trucks in parking lots in the vicinity of the city, hoping to cross the border into Hungary undetected. A smuggler selects the truck and opens the cargo area for them. “Our chance is that the police won’t check every truck,” one explained.

    The fact that Afghans have been trying to cross the border more and more this year has also been observed by a border official: “With the global madness, they are under increasing pressure to get to Europe.” Afghan smugglers have an extensive network on the Balkan route. And the young Afghans in Timisoara call their attempts to cross the border a “game” to evade detection.

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