What did Pope Francis say to Hungarian President, Katalin Novák?

A couple of days ago, Hungarian President Katalin Novák reported that Pope Francis received her at the Vatican for a private audience.

President Novák posted photos on Facebook with the Pope and reported, “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.”

Katalin Novák with Pope Francis

Novak also gave an interview to the Vatican Radio, and told 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.  She emphasized the role of women leaders in the peaceful resolution of conflict situations in Ukraine, and 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.  Novak confirmed that the Pope’s visit to Hungary can take place in the first half of next year. (It was surprising that she suggested that Transcarpathia is not Ukraine.)

Pro-Orbán Hungarian media reported in detail on the meeting and based on Novak’s statements they concluded that Pope Francis and Orbán are basically “on the same page.”  The Vatican is behind Orbán.

When I searched official Vatican communications about Francis’s planned visit to Hungary next year, I couldn’t find anything.  In fact the Vatican did not even mention that the Pope met Novak.  I started to wonder if Novak’s stories have any basis at all.  A “private audience” is supposed to be private and no trace of Vatican confirmation of her statements so far.

Pope Francis is 85 years old and in frail health. The Pontiff uses a wheelchair and raised the possibility of retiring soon for health reasons. Did he really commit to a 2023 Budapest trip?

The isolated Orbán regime used the audience to cook up dozens of media stories about the upcoming preparation of the unconfirmed Papal visit to Hungary.  It seems that some of the stories came from Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen.

Hungary hired (OK, appointed) 55-year-old German-born Habsburg nobility Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen as Hungary’s Ambassador to the Vatican.  Eduard does not speak Hungarian, never lived in Hungary but his services are valuable, he knows how to work the Vatican bureaucracy.

Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen

Four months ago, he was able to get a Papal audience for Orbán in Rome and now for Novak.  Can he really arrange a Papal visit to Hungary next year?  No confirmation from the Vatican so far…

György Lázár

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