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The political engagement of Christians, the participation of young people in public life and the importance of Hungarian family policy were the focus of a lecture by the Hungarian President at Ave Maria University in Florida on Thursday.
Speaking to students at a private Catholic university on the last stop of her visit to the US, Katalin Novák said that Christian principled politics is based on respect for one another. She pointed out that the Christian form of governance is workable in practice and not just a theory. For it to be achievable, there needs to be the governmental power to implement it, because mere principles without the power to act achieve nothing, just as “mere executive power without good principles achieves nothing”, she added. Good principles, values, very strong convictions and the right position of power to put them into practice are needed, the President said.
The President also stressed that this Christian political alternative is a viable option, adding that in Florida, where the lecture was delivered, it is also possible to see that these principles work in practice and can appeal to the majority of people. For that reason alone, they should be held fast and never given up, she said.
Speaking about aspects of Christian principled politics in Hungary, she highlighted freedom, saying that Hungarians are “a freedom-loving nation”.
Anyone who visits Hungary will experience what real freedom means,
she added. As part of this, she mentioned real freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom to live. You can really say what you think and live your life as you see fit, without any negative consequences for your life, said Katalin Novák.
She said it was unfortunate that in many parts of the world today, the state talks about freedom in theory, but in practice, if you do not go with the mainstream, you are bound to experience negative consequences.
As an example of the practical implementation of Christian principles, she cited the steps taken through Hungarian family policy, which she told her university audience in Florida was an area that had been fought for hard for more than a decade.
She pointed out that at the time the family policy measures were launched, Hungary was in a very difficult demographic situation, with a low birth rate, similar to the Western world. She pointed out that
in a decade the fertility rate had risen from 1.27 to 1.6, the highest rate of improvement in Europe.
She said that Hungary now spends 6 percent of its GDP on family support, a very high proportion compared to NATO’s expectation that member states spend 2 percent of their gross domestic income on defense.
Among the elements of family support in Hungary, the head of state highlighted the reduction in personal income tax for children and the lifelong exemption from paying social security for mothers with 4 or more children. She told the audience largely made up of students that in Hungary the amount of student loans to be repaid is reduced in proportion to the number of children born, and that there is no repayment at all for three children. As a third family policy measure, she drew attention to the Hungarian housing support system.
“We believe that if there are no children, there are no families and no future,” the head of state said, adding that children are the guarantee of the future and that the doubling of the number of marriages and the reduction of the number of abortions by a third also prove the effectiveness of Hungarian family policy.
Referring to her own personal experience, the President advised the American university students that it is not worth missing out on having children and a family.
Featured Photo: Facebook Katalin Novák