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Pope Francis discusses family values, Ukraine war with Hungarian president

Pope Francis meets with Hungary President Katalin Novák at the Vatican on Aug. 25, 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media

Rome Newsroom, Aug 25, 2023 / 10:45 am (CNA).

Pope Francis discussed family values, religious freedom, and the Ukraine war with Hungary’s President Katalin Novák at the Vatican on Friday.

In the 45-minute meeting on Aug. 25, the pope and Novák spoke about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and efforts to end the conflict, according to a statement by the Holy See Press Office.

Additionally, “some topics of common interest were discussed, such as the family and Christian values,” it said.

Novák, a 45-year-old mother of three, has served as Hungary’s president since May 2022. She is the first woman president in the country’s history. Prior to taking office, she worked as Hungary’s minister for family affairs.

Pope Francis meets with Hungary President Katalin Novák at the Vatican on Aug. 25, 2023. Credit: Vatican Media

Hungary is known for its family-centered policies — which include government bonuses of $33,000 for married couples who have three children — and have helped boost the country’s birth rate.

Novák last met Pope Francis last spring in Budapest during the pope’s trip to Hungary from April 28–30. During her visit to the Vatican, she also sat down with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Undersecretary for Relations with States Msgr. Mirosław Wachowski.

Hungary President Katalin Novák meets Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin at the Vatican on Aug. 25, 2023. Credit: Vatican Media

Days before her meeting with Pope Francis, Novák traveled to Ukraine, where she met one-on-one with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and discussed a plan for cooperation on the case of children affected by the war.

Novák wrote on social media that the war in Ukraine was also the primary topic of her conversation with Pope Francis.

“We agreed to work together to achieve a long-term, sustainable #peace as soon as possible. We also discussed what we can do together to ensure that the #children abducted from Ukraine can return home,” she wrote in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

She also called Hungary and the Vatican “allies in standing up for traditional #family values and protecting children.”

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