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Tagespost interjúja Novák Katalinnal 2023.04.20.

Pope Francis brings the message of peace – The interview of Die Tagespost with Katalin Novák

President of Hungary Katalin Novák called the visit of Pope Francis to Hungary an honour for all Hungarians. In the interview published in Germany’s Catholic weekly Die Tagespost on Thursday, the President stressed that in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, the Church and its Pontiff brings the message of peace, encouragement and hope.

The Head of State recalled: the last time the Catholic Pontiff paid an official apostolic visit to Hungary was 30 years ago. However, she pointed out, Pope Francis was impressed when he visited Budapest in 2021 for the World Eucharistic Congress, and this is probably the main reason why he decided to come back and "assure us of his support".

"Primarily, the visit of Pope Francis is an honour, not only for Catholics but for all Hungarians. The Church and its Pontiff bring encouragement, hope and the message of peace " – Katalin Novák stressed.
She pointed out: For over a year now, we have lived in the shadow of the war, but every nation wishes for a peaceful, stable and secure world. This is the message we need – she added.

She emphasized: Pope Francis may play a key role in bringing about peace talks in the war in Ukraine. "He can talk directly with both parties to the conflict and their current partners, he is a man able to build bridges and break through walls. This is why he is so important " – she said.

Katalin Novák confirmed: we condemn Russian aggression and stand up for the sovereignty of Ukraine. Meanwhile, we wish for peace. The Head of State called it a positive development that more and more prominent politicians recognise the urgent need for peace talks.

"We will not send our husbands and sons to the battlefields in Ukraine. Nobody can ask this from us. We do not want more innocent people to lose their lives in this war," she said.
She directed attention to the fact that by now, Pope Francis appeared to be ready to visit both Moscow and Kiev. Katalin Novák thinks it wise that the Pope wishes to talk with both parties, and she expressed hope that this will happen as soon as possible.

At the same time, she encouraged everyone "not to underestimate the power of prayer". "We are in God’s hands. We Hungarians will pray for peace here, together with the Holy Father. As a Christian, I believe God can give us the strength we need to end this conflict." – she stressed.

The President of Hungary also said: since the outbreak of the war, Hungary gave shelter to one and a half million refugees, which is a huge number compared to the country’s population of less than ten million people. This is the largest humanitarian programme in Hungary’s history – Katalin Novák assessed the situation, adding that she is very proud of the Hungarians who united their forces to help the refugees from Ukraine, and have been helping ever since.

The Head of State then went on to say: the Hungarians are „the last of the Mohicans” in preserving Europe’s Christian heritage. The reason for this, she said, is that although people's attitudes are changing in Hungary as well, there is a strong consensus in society on lasting values such as male and female identity. We respect this as public leaders," she said.

"The Founder of our State, King Saint Stephen, chose Christianity for us Hungarians over a thousand years ago. This is our past, our present and our future, which we are not prepared to give up," she stressed.
She also highlighted: Internationally, Hungary and the Holy See stand up together for traditional Christian values, such as the family, the protection of life and for prosecuted Christians. We are on the same path and we can count on each other, she added.

Talking about the action of the European Commission brought against Hungary concerning its Child Protection Act, the President of Hungary said: irrespective of the outcome of the proceedings, Hungary will not abandon the protection of children nor give up on the right of parents to freely decide about the upbringing of their children. 

She stressed that Hungary wishes to protect children precisely against the loss of safe points in their lives. The upbringing of their children is a fundamental right of parents – she said. The Head of State called it a dangerous tendency that some people think they know better than parents what children need.