Sep 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pope Francis says anti-Semitism "still lurking" in Europe after meeting with Hungary's Orban

Pope Francis
Photo: Tiziana FABI/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis on Sunday warned of the threat of anti-Semitism "still lurking," in an address to Christian and Jewish leaders during his trip to Hungary, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The pope's comments followed a meeting with Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a strongman leader who has faced accusations of anti-Semitism from the Jewish community in the country.

What he's saying: "I think of the threat of anti-Semitism still lurking in Europe and elsewhere," the pope said on Sunday, per Reuters.

  • "This is a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to defuse it is to work together, positively, and to promote fraternity," he continued.
  • During a lengthy Mass in Budapest, Francis urged Hungary to “extend its arms towards everyone,” in what appeared to be a veiled critique of Orban, AP writes.
  • Orban wrote on Facebook after the meeting: “I asked Pope Francis not to let Christian Hungary perish.”

Background: Orban is a fierce opponent of immigration, and has been condemned by Amnesty International for his "systematic crackdown on the rights of refugees and migrants."

  • While running for office in 2017, Orban included images of George Soros, who is Jewish, in an anti-immigration billboard campaign and rejected calls to remove them.
  • There are nearly 100,000 Jews currently residing in Hungary.
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