On Thursday, President Katalin Novák was received by Pope Francis at the Vatican for a private audience, where the two had a chance to speak about topics, such as the Pope’s planned visit to Hungary next year, and policies of the Hungarian government meant to protect children and families.
Katalin Novák posted on her Facebook page that “During the 45-minute long private conversation in Spanish, we touched on several topics. I officially invited the Holy Father to visit us again next year. He confirmed his intention to come to Hungary, which means that the preparations for his visit can begin. Regarding the war in Ukraine, our common goal is to have peace as soon as possible.
Pope Francis was particularly interested in the Hungarian family policy measures. He was surprised about the fact that the number of marriages has doubled and the number of abortions has halved in Hungary.
The Holy Father thanked us for standing up for traditional families and persecuted Christians. At the end of our conversation, my husband and I received a papal blessing. He was delighted and appreciated the personal gift. He asked me to convey his call to the Hungarian people to pray for him,” the President concluded her Facebook message from the Vatican.
In an interview for the Vatican radio, Novák also said that she spoke to the Pope about helping traditional families, and how young people often encounter the damaging view that children are a burden, a nuisance, an ecological footprint that threatens the survival of the earth and stands in the way of professional fulfillment.
The Hungarian Head of State said that it was her personal mission to tell young women that it is not worth giving up having children just because someone loves their job and wants to fulfill their vocation.
“We would like to ensure that in Hungary there are no financial obstacles to starting a family or having another child,” she added.
According to Novák, Pope Francis was very surprised by the results of Hungarian family policy, with the number of marriages doubling and the abortion rate halving, and saddened by the fact that marriage has fallen out of fashion in Europe and in much of the developed world. “In Hungary, family is important to people, and we must only embrace it, help it, and where we see obstacles, help to break them down,” she said, stressing the need to reject harmful ideologies aimed at breaking up traditional families.
The two also discussed the role of women leaders in the peaceful resolution of conflict situations in the context of the war in Ukraine. Novák added that she had asked Pope Francis for help on how she could take effective action for peace, as it is in the common interest to achieve peace as soon as possible. She also said that as a mother of three, she “deeply felt” the plight of mothers in Transcarpathia, Ukraine, and Russia who had to say goodbye to their husbands and children because of the war.
The President also said that she had personally handed over a letter of invitation to Pope Francis, inviting him to a longer visit than the one he made last year to the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, where he confirmed his intention to come to Hungary. It is hoped that the visit can take place in the first half of next year, Katalin Novák added on Vatican Radio’s Hungarian-language broadcast on Thursday evening.
Featured Photo: MTI/EPA/Vatican Media