Calvinist Bishop József Steinbach, President of the Ecumenical Council of Churches of Hungary, welcomed Pope Francis on behalf of the 12 member churches of the Council, describing the Eucharistic Congress as a blessing. The gift of God’s love binds us to give ourselves reciprocally, to care for one another, to appreciate life, the order of God’s creation, to protect the earth which is our home, to pray and act unanimously and to live a beautiful and full life where all humanity can be fulfilled for the glory of God and for the good of the other, he said.
In his welcoming words to the Holy Father, Rabbi Zoltán Radnóti, Chief Rabbi of South Buda, said the hope of this historic meeting is that we convert from our paths and continue to live together, Jews and Christians in mutual respect, in human understanding and in true fraternal love. This reciprocity will be impossible if we close ourselves off because closure binds us to a tree trunk and does not allow the spirit to free itself. In recent decades, he continued, Jews and Christians have done much to break down the walls that separated us. We have done much, he concluded, to see in the other not a stranger but a future friend and brother.