By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News reporting from Budapest, Hungary
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Leaders of the Bishops’ Conferences from Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Hungary’s capital Budapest to discuss a roadmap for peace as war rages in neighboring Ukraine.
This week’s two-day meeting came after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Hungary is ready to host peace talks between Russia and Ukraine and condemned sanctions against Moscow.
Michael Wallace Banach, the apostolic nuncio to Hungary, noted that the Church loves peace. However, the Vatican’s representative wondered: “What does the Church do for peace?” adding, “this is a question that must resonate in people’s hearts.”
His appeal prompted Gintaras Grusas, the archbishop of Vilnius, to ask everyone “to pray for peace” in nearby Ukraine and the rest of Europe.
The bishops also met Hungary’s President Katalin Novák when her nation saw some 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees arriving from neighboring Ukraine.
Though most pass through Hungary, thousands were also accommodated here, with the support of churches.
CEASEFIRE TALKS URGED
They met after Orbán said it was time for a ceasefire and peace talks in Ukraine, despite Kyiv’s opposition. “Hungary doesn’t need to be told what the brutality associated with the Soviet Army was like, and what it’s like to fight the Russians,” he said in an interview.
This month Hungary commemorated the outbreak of the 1956 Revolution, also known as the Hungarian Uprising, against Soviet Union domination, Orbán told Hungarian radio.
“If you go outside, you go to Plot 301 [the resting place of victims of the reprisals following the 1956 Revolution]; you’ll know what it’s like. And you can even say that our [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky was the Hungarian prime minister at the time, [Imre Nagy], who was later executed,” Orbán said.
However, unlike Ukraine, “we did not fight because we thought we were going to defeat the then Soviet Union. We started a revolution and a fight for freedom to force a ceasefire and a peace negotiation,” the prime minister recalled.
He said Hungary is in the “peace camp” that favors peace talks to end Europe’s worst conflict since World War Two. “The Holy Father speaks for peace. [Former U.S. State Secretary Henry] Kissinger speaks for peace” and others, he noted. “My feeling is that the voice for a ceasefire and then a peace agreement after the ceasefire is getting stronger. This would also bring economic relief because as long as the war continues and the West responds with sanctions, neither inflation nor energy prices will fall.”
Kyiv says it sees no reason for peace talks as long as Russia attacks Ukraine.
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