Pope Francis was surprised when learning about the results of Hungary’s family policy, including a two-fold increase in the number of marriages and a 50 percent drop in the number of abortions, President Katalin Novák told Radio Vatican after meeting the pontiff in a private audience in Rome on Thursday.
Novák said their meeting had been over 40 minutes long and held in Spanish. The pope expressed his appreciation and “our talks had a very earnest tone,” Novak said.
Hungary’s family policy was also discussed and the pontiff was taken by surprise learning about its achievements, she said. He expressed regret over the fact that marriage is no longer fashionable in Europe and in a large part of the developed world, the president added.
“In Hungary, the family is important for people and this is what we have to support and dismantle the barriers where they stand,” Novák said, adding that “harmful ideologies aimed at breaking up the traditional family must be rejected.”
The war in Ukraine was another topic discussed at the meeting, Novák said, adding that “the role women leaders may play in a peaceful settlement of conflict situations also came up”. “I asked the pontiff to act towards promoting peace because it is our common interest to achieve peace as soon as possible,” she added.
Novák said she had personally handed over an invitation to Pope Frances to return to Budapest for a longer visit than last year during the International Eucharistic Congress held in the Hungarian capital. He reaffirmed that he wanted to visit Hungary and expressed hope that it could take place in the first half of next year, Novák added.